Over 42,000 migrants arrived by sea in Greece during the first five months of 2015, with the majority of them being refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The influx of migrants on the Greek islands is six times larger so far, compared to the same period last year, adding more pressure on the poverty-stricken local authorities.
“The figures have dramatically increased, particularly in Greece where we have seen people arriving at an average of 600 a day,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We expect it to continue at least at this pace, if not become even bigger,” she added, disclosing at the same time the fact that Greece does not seem to be able to gather the resources that will enable it to handle this humanitarian crisis.
For this reason, the UNHCR recently took the initiative to increase its personnel in Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Rhodes, Leros and Evros in order to respond to the critical situation in Greece, helping local authorities to improve reception conditions, identification of additional accommodation, provision of legal information and counseling, as well as distribution of necessary items.