More than 1,880 refugees and migrants arrived on the Greek islands in the first half of October, setting local authorities on alert. At the same time, Berlin accuses Athens of tricking with the numbers in order to hide that thousands of migrants illegally cross the Balkan route and reach Germany.
the number of new arrivals on the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea drastically increased in the first half of October. According to Greece’s Migration Ministry a total of 1,887 migrants and refugees arrived 1-15 October 2017.
- 1,192 arrived on Lesvos
- 729 arrived on Chios
- 117 arrived on Samos
Monday morning another 44 people arrived on Lesvos and 157 on Chios.
The Interior Ministry’s National Coordination Body for Migration notes that the number of refugees and migrants hosted on the islands are:
6,807 people on Lesvos,
1,867 people on Chios
3,075 people on Samos
All these people have been stuck on the islands after the Balkan route closure and the EU-Turkey deal. Yhey have applied for asylum, their requests are still pending.
Local authorities warn of a new Migration crisis and ask the central government for an extraordinary meeting on the issue in order to consider new measures to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
German conservative daily DIE WELT accused Athens over the weekend that it gives wrong numbers about the numbers of refugees and migrants stuck in Greece and of not safeguarding its borders. “15,000 asylum seekers come to Germany every month – mostly via the Balkan route,” Die Welt claimed adding that “the government in Athens has so far presented incorrect figures in order to prevent the migrants’ waving go noticed.”
“The German Ministry of the Interior officially declared: “Migration-relevant findings of the states along the Balkan route are an indication of a continuing migration by land from Greece,” die Welt notes adding that the Ministry had no specific data on the new arrivals in Germany. However, it claimed further that the total number of refugees and migrants in Greece was not 62,000 but just 40,000 people.
The cited sources accused also Bulgaria of allowing migrants passing through to the rest of Europe.
Deputy Migration Minister Giannis Balafas described Die Welt report as fake news. “We have to see everything under the tendency of many media to promote fake news,” Balafas said. “It is obvious that the claims are not true, we all know the role the newspaper plays and what it represents,” the deputy minister added about the conservative German daily.
Balafas said that the number of migrants and refugees in Greece has been 55,000-60,000 people in the last two years. He, nevertheless, expressed concern about the recent increase of new arrivals.
Many in Greece wonder whether the new increase is due to the fair weather conditions or it has to do with Erdogan’s clinch with the European Union.
However, the Turkish Coast Guard said that in the period from 1 to 13 October there were 25 interceptions of dinghies carrying migrants and refugees attempting to reach the Greek islands, in which 907 migrants and refugees were sent back to Turkey.