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Greek Island Refugee, Migrant Centers Can't Cope With More Arrivals

Αssociated press

FILE - In this photo dated Friday, May 4, 2018 migrants and refugees wait outside UNHCR offices for their papers, inside the camp of Moria on Lesbos, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

With hundreds more refugees and migrants landing on Greek islands every week during the good weather summer months, officials running detention centers are finding it difficult to handle the growing numbers.

There are more than 15,000 being housed in the camps, mostly on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros, near the coast of Turkey, whose government is letting human traffickers continue to operate during a suspended swap deal with the European Union.

Some 1,146 more people arrived on those islands over the previous two weeks with no signs of a let-up of the gradual build-up as tension has risen and violence sporadically broken out over frustrations in two-year delays in dealing with asylum applications.

From June 11-July 15, a total of 2,807 migrants landed on the five eastern Aegean compared to 2,467 in the same period last year while 1,845 people have been relocated to facilities on the Greek mainland over the past month, said Kathimerini.

The crisis has continued with island officials and residents upset that the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA hasn’t done more to help although Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has granted an exemption from a Value Added Tax (VAT) he imposed on the rest of the country.

European Commission migration chief Dimitris Avramopoulos, a veteran Greek politician from the major opposition New Democracy, hasn’t moved to make EU countries who closed their borders to the refugees and migrants to take in an overload from Greece as promised.