With Turkey actively engaging in people smuggling by not preventing tens of thousands of migrants crossing into Greece from its territory and its coast guard authorities ignoring calls from their Greek counterparts in the search and rescue of migrants and refugees in their territorial waters, the migrant crisis has only gotten worse. Greek islands like Lesvos and Samos have been two landing points for most irregular arrivals, stretching resources and people’s patience, often leading to protests and clashes with authorities as recently witnessed.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has released the latest figures concerning the arrival of migrants and refugees to Greece for the period 17 -23 February 2020.
This week, 778 people arrived on the Aegean islands, an increase from last week’s 450 arrivals and from last year’s 695 arrivals during the same period. The average daily arrivals on all islands this week equalled 111, compared to 64 in the previous week.
Present Population on the Islands
Some 40,750 refugees and asylum seekers reside on the Aegean islands. The majority of the population on the Aegean islands are from Afghanistan (49%), Syria (19%) and Somalia (6%).
Women account for 22% of the population, and children for 33% of whom more than 6 out of 10 are younger than 12 years old.
Approximately 14% of the children are unaccompanied or separated, mainly from Afghanistan.
Entry Points by Sea
Samos received the highest number of arrivals (234), followed by Lesvos (217), the Dodecanese Islands (176) and Chios with (151) people.
This week, 700 asylum-seekers departed, once authorised by the authorities, from the Aegean islands to the mainland. Of those, 231 were transferred by the Government with the support of UNHCR to open reception facilities/sites and to ESTIA apartments currently managed by UNHCR.