The islands of the eastern Aegean are facing a crisis with the thousands of immigrants who are locked in reception centers originally designed to accommodate much fewer people.
In Samos citizens have been gathering signatures since Tuesday to close the reception center in Vathy, which has 4,000 asylum seekers, while its facilities are for 650 people.
The text signed by the mayor of the island Michalis Angelopoulos stresses that "three years later, the decongestion of the center is still a proclamation without any backing. The last of these, by Mr Vitsas, a few months ago, referred to a solution to this long lasting petition by September. However, September arrived and the number of "guests" in the Samos Town Hall have, meanwhile, risen instead of falling! Three years later, while Municipalities are the only bodies with no real authority to handle refugees / migrants and under the heavy shadow of the recent revelation of the strange role played by some uncontrolled NGOs in the whole issue, the situation has become stifling and the glass is overflowing."
Speaking to THEMA 104,6, the mayor of Samos Michalis Angelopoulos stressed that the island can not withstand the burden with the thousands of migrants. As he said, "the situation does not resemble Moria, but that does not mean it's not a major problem that afflicts the island that is being tested while waiting for decongestion.
"We have a written commitment that all those who qualify under the EU-Turkey declaration will leave in September," added Angelopoulos.
What Samos asks, said Mr. Angelopoulos, is "to have a recording center as there are elsewhere, and that it should be able to support people for a limited period of 7-10 days". As some immigrants complained, "they may stay up to one year in Samos."
At the same time, the situation in Moria, on Mytilene, remains very difficult, with Dimitris Vitsas, the Minister of Immigration Policy, stating for the second time within 24 hours that "the situation is marginal". "From June 1st we had close to 11,000 arrivals. At the same time, we evacuated 6,200 people from the islands. So in Mytilene the situation is marginal. More than 70% of those in Moria arrived in the summer, "he told radio news247.
Meanwhile, today, Alexis Tsipras will have a meeting with European Immigration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos just before going to Austria where an informal summit will be held to discuss developments
for the migrant issue in Europe.