The Greek government says it is preparing for a dramatic increase in the number of migrants coming from its neighbour across the Aegean Sea.
As migrants continue to flow into Greece from Turkey and as the crisis in the Greek islands continues to deepen, the Greek government predicts that 100,000 more migrants will arrive from Turkey next year, Deutsche Welle reports.
“The crisis is now happening and it’s serious”, – Manos Logotethys, government commissioner for migration, said on Wednesday.
As a result of the fact that 45,000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Greece in the past six months alone, Logothetis says the situation in Greece is “clearly more critical” than at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.
The migrant facilities on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos, which had originally been designed to accommodate less than 10,000 people, currently accommodated more than 41,000 migrants. This is the highest number of migrants accommodated in these facilities since the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Migrant Agreement in 2016.
In October, two separate fires in migrant camps on the Greek islands killed two people and left hundreds homeless. In addition to the fires, incidents saw migrants clashing with the Greek police.
Following a threat by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan to flood Europe with more than three million migrants, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on NATO to increase naval patrols in the Aegean Sea. Feeling alone in its fight, the Greek government also called on the EU to impose sanctions on member states that refuse to accept quotas for the resettlement of migrants.
To reduce pressure on overcrowded reception centres, Logotethys said the Greek government would like 10,000 migrants to be deported back to Turkey. However, before it can do so, Greece would need 270 asylum reviews.
The Greek government also plans to build new reception centres on its five islands, where most migrants land after leaving Turkey.
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