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Governor: Slow asylum process strands 15,000 people on Greek islands

Europe
12.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Athens (dpa) - Around 15,000 people are stranded on Greek Aegean islands waiting for their asylum application to be processed, a regional governor, Christiana Kalogirou, told Skai TV on Tuesday.

Kalogirou blamed slow processing for the backlog of refugees, most of whom live in appalling conditions. "The situation will not improve if we don‘t beef up the asylum authorities," she said.

Greek officers process the applications, with the assistance of counterparts from other countries, through the EU asylum authority EASO.

"The population in reception camps remains there for a long time, because asylum experts can only process a few dozen applications daily," Kalogirou said.

But the fact that more people reach the island daily further aggravates the situation, she added.

Refugee camps on Lesbos, Leros, Samos, Kos and Chios have long since been filled beyond capacity. There are an estimated 15,000 people in facilities planned for 5,500.

Many of the stranded people live in makeshift homes, including light summer tents. Aid organizations warned that people could die from exposure once winter sets in.

The Greek islands have been the main gateway for more than 1 million refugees and migrants who arrived by way of Turkey with hopes of reaching richer European countries during the 2015-16 migration crisis.

An agreement of the European Union and Turkey to block people sneaking across the border after April 2016 reduced the wave to a trickle, but people still continue coming across the sea.

 

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