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Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid, announces urgent measures for Lesvos where the situation is “a step before social explosion”

Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called “a volatile situation” following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.

According to Reuters, “Greece requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc’s crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said.”

Thousands of people fleeing war and violence in the Middle East have been flocking to Greece as a stopover on their way to Europe. More than 60% of the refugees are from Syria, others come from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

The majority of refugees land on the islands of Kos and Lesvos in the eastern Aegean Sea, where they wait for weeks in order to get registered before they can move on.

Tension has been high in recent days especially on the island of Lesvos that hosts estimated some 17,000 of refugees and migrants.

video: Lesvos – rescue – tension

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The explosive situation on the island urged Greece’s interim government to announce some measures with Alternate Minister for Migration Yiannis Moussalas to promise that the measures will go into effect as of today, Monday, with the aim to ‘alleviate difficulties both for the locals and the refugees.”

  1. Increase the number of ferries to transport the refugees to the mainland. Chartered ferry “Eleftherios Venizelos” will  be permanently docked at the port of Mytilene where registered refugees will be allowed to get on board. The ferry will depart for Piraeus as soon as the number of 2,500 passengers has been completed. The ferry will sail back and forth.

2. Increase the infrastructure to identify immigrants and refugees. 60 officers from Greek Police and Coast Guard have been already deployed on the island,  the necessary special equipment is expected to arrive on Monday.

3. Activation of the Greek Land Forces: personnel and means will be used to set a new refugees reception area. At the same time, the Army will bake and deliver daily 1,500 loafs of bread.

4. Create a new identification and registration center will be established.

A total of 15,000 refugees have moved with ferries chartered by the Greek state from the islands to the mainland since last Monday, but hundreds keep arriving on a daily basis.

refugee rescue

On Monday morning, 61 “irregular migrants”  – so the announcement- were rescued by the crew of a regular ferry and a Coast Guard boat, 4 nautical miles south of Lesvos.  Many of the passengers were in the sea, others on the half-sunk boat. Among them were women and children. Some of them were wearing life vests. A man holding a 7-month old baby did not… According to Greek media, the people were in the sea for about 8 hours. They were all transferred to the hospital of Mytilene in order to receive first aid.

The situation on the island remains explosive. Monday morning, some 500 immigrants mainly from Afhanistan set off from the camp of Kara Tepe and arrived at the port, asking to be registered and leave the island.

According to local LesvosPost, the migrants set some car tires on fire.

At the port, they clashed with police that stun grenades.

ΦΩΤΟ από lesvospost.com

 

During protests on Sunday, migrants had written a placate in English threatening to destroy the island. The picture with the placate has made with rounds through the social media, triggering a lot of hate comments against the migrants and the refugees.

A provocation?

Some ‘patriotic’ union has called the locals for an urgent meeting in order to deal with the problem of migration.

On Saturday night, two youngsters 17 and 19 years old threw Molotov cocktails at refugees sleeping outdoors, injuring one man. They were arrested on felony charges.

Lesvos Post warned that the island “is just a step before the social explosion” while Lesvos News says “it is a matter of time to have victims.”

Refugee woman gives birth to a baby girl, five days after arriving on the island of Lesvos.

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