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Number of asylum-seekers in Greece rose to 73,000, says Migration Minister

There are about 15,000 immigrants living in the Greek islands, Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Monday. He pointed out at the overpopulation of the hot spots on Samos and Moria on Lesvos. And he stressed that the majority of migrants arriving in Greece nowadays are from Afghanistan and countries in Africa, whereas the majority in 2015 was mainly from Syria.

  • The hot post on Samos hosts a population three times over its capacity, while the Moria camp has an overpopulation of 20 percent.

Migration flows through the land and sea borders increased in 2018, the minister said, stressing that Greece received 69,000 asylum applications last year.

  • Arrivals increase was 284% through the land borders and 10% via the sea borders.

“The big number of migrants passed through Greece in 2015. There is a reduction in flows to Europe of 97%. From 1.5 million in 2015 we are at 100,000 in 2018,” Vitsas said adding that the flows are continuing.

Regarding the 2018 report, Vitsas said that there are about 630,000 refugees and migrants in Greece with 73,000 of them to have come after 2015. These 73,000 live in Greece, are asylum seekers, applicants for international protection.”

Of these 73,000:

  • -23,000 live in apartments and homes
  • -19,000 in 26 accommodation centers in the mainland
  • – 7,000 in hotels and tourist accommodation
  • -2,000 unaccompanied minors live in special hosting structures

From the approximately 15,000 migrants on the islands, 12,000 live in accommodation and registration centers, 1,250 in accommodation center in Chios and the rest in apartments.

Vitsas said that the main problems are be identified on the islands of Samos and Lesvos with the hot spots to be overpopulated.

During 2018, a total of 29,000 asylum seekers were transferred from the islands to the mainland and 350 returned to Turkey under the EU agreement.

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