The Latest: Greece to move 2,000 people out of migrant camp
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The Latest on migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe (all times local):
Greece’s government spokesman says about 2,000 asylum seekers are to be moved out of a severely overcrowded migrant camp on the island of Lesbos and sent to the mainland by the end of September.
Dimitris Tzanakopoulos’ statement Tuesday comes after charities and regional authorities strongly criticized conditions at the Moria camp, where around 9,000 people are housed in the facility built to accommodate 3,100.
The Doctors Without Borders group has called for the emergency evacuation of vulnerable people from the camp to other European Union countries, citing an increase in suicide attempts and self-harm among children in Moria and cases of sexual attack.
Regional governor Christina Kalogirou has threatened to shut the facility unless the government improves conditions, which include raw sewage running out of the camp’s main entrance.
The European Union’s top migration official says personnel from the bloc’s new, upgraded border police could in the future be dispatched to Cyprus to help stem the flow of migrants that are putting a strain on the tiny east Mediterranean island.
EU Commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Tuesday that a team of EU officials has been sent to Cyprus to determine what kind of help the country needs to cope with increased migrant inflows.
Avramopoulos said the new border police will be “more advanced and upgraded” from the current body FRONTEX in terms of its mandate and means including aircraft and ships. He said it’s estimated that within a few years, the force will be composed of 10,000 permanent staff.