Migration: humanitarian winter plan for the Greek islands urged

The daily boats carrying migrants from Turkey are back. Mainly Syrian refugees are arriving at the hotspots on Samos, Lesbos and Chia. According to NGOs up to 100 to 200 refugees are arriving per day, and they are among the most vulnerable: families escaped from the latest fights with ISIS/Daesh and unaccompanied minors.

Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), PACE General Rapporteur on conditions of reception of refugees and migrants, today called upon the Greek Government to hear the repeated call of the NGOs and respond with a plan for this winter to relieve the Greek islands of Samos, Lesbos and Chios.

“Every day conditions are deteriorating, psychosocial help is desperately needed and it is getting much colder. Legal protection of the most vulnerable according to the actual criteria of Greek law is urgent”, Ms de Sutter said.

"If only about ten boats passed the Turkish coastguards during spring, twice as many have done so since June. Under the EU-Turkey facility for refugees, the EU should pay particular attention to this increasingly high risk of lives lost at sea", she added.

At the end of October, NGOs and citizens of the islands wrote to Prime Minister Tsipras, asking the Greek Government to provide help urgently. If the year 2017 started “quietly” (approximately 1650 migrants arriving each month), this is no longer the case: according to UNHCR, 4900 migrants arrived on the Greek islands in September, and the same trend continued in October, with more than 3300 arrivals before the end of the month.