Greece moves migrants from crowded islands to the mainland

Greek authorities have started ferrying migrants stranded on the Aegean islands to the mainland in order to reduce pressure at the overcrowded camps, an official said Friday.

"It is mostly families," the minister in charge of migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, told radio Vima 99.5.

Migrants who were involved in riots are also to be sent to secured facilities on the mainland, Mouzalas added, without providing concrete numbers.

More than 10,300 migrants remain stuck on Greece's Aegean islands after arriving from Turkey. The camps that were set up to identify asylum seekers and process their claims have room for 7,450.

The islands have been the main entry point to Europe for around 1 million refugees and migrants who arrived in 2015 and in the first two months of 2016.

Since March, under an agreement between Brussels and Ankara, new arrivals have been stopped on the islands and returned to Turkey, with the European Union promising to resettle those entitled to refugee status directly from Turkish camps.

While the inflow of migrants has since dwindled as a result, it still outpaces the return of people to Turkey.

Last update: Fri, 12/08/2016 - 13:52

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