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Greek Islands Facing Migration Crisis – Devastating Conditions for Migrants and Refugees

migrantsWhile Greece has almost completed a bailout deal with international creditors, the migration crisis on the country’s islands is becoming a major problem for the Greek government and the country.
The Guardian reported that after Tuesday’s migrant riot on the island of Kos, Greek Police put 2,000 migrants and refugees inside a football stadium. An 18-hour lockdown under the burning sun resulted in four people fainting each hour.
Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported that as a result of the riot and the uncontrollable situation, two riot police units arrived on the island last night.
Kos is one of the main Greek islands that have become an entry point for migrants and refugees entering European Union borders, with an estimated 7,000 of them.
The municipality of Kos strongly criticized Alternate Minister of Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou on Wednesday, calling her irresponsible, absent and a Minister who will be Kos’ downfall. On Tuesday, Christodoulopoulou had accused Kos mayor Giorgos Kyritsis of not caring and not doing enough for his island.
On Wednesday, the Financial Committee of the South Aegean Periphery approved a 100,000-euro emergency assistance to the islands facing this unprecedented situation.
Kos is not the only Greek island plagued with this humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimated that from the beginning of 2015, more than 120,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greek islands. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) director for Europe Vincent Cochetel said that the situation he saw on the islands of Kos, Lesvos and Chios was the worst in his 30-year career.
The situation on the island of Leros, which is also close to Turkey, seems to be degenerating as well. Posts on the Leros Solidarity Network Facebook page reveal the extent of the crisis and particularly the effect it has on kids who are shown sleeping on the floor.
“427 refugees in the port authority’s yard. No word can describe such wretchedness. The children, dozens of children burning in the sun, with one broken toilet, with dirty water everywhere, sleeping at night on cardboards, not being able to wash anywhere,” a post from August 5 read.
Leros mayor Michalis Kolias sent a letter to Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and to Christodoulopoulou, warning that the situation is out of control and asked for the transport of migrants and refugees from the island via a Greek navy ship.
Amid this despairing situation on the islands, a Greek company launched its own initiative to help migrants and refugees in Athens.
Greek media reported that the company Feidaki, which is Fujitsu’s representative in Greece, will install one hundred air conditioning units in the containers that the Municipality of Athens has set up at the Eleonas Camp for migrants and refugees to live in.
“The plan is to install at least 63 units today and tomorrow, and if we have time, to install all 100 of them, provided that the containers are able to host the units. I estimate that construction will be completed until Friday, provided that the containers are ready so we can connect the units and be able to fully function,” said company representative Panagiotis Andrikopoulos.

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