Construction to Start on New Refugee, Migrant Centers in Greece

February 11, 2020

ATHENS – After delays that had officials and residents of islands furious, work on building new migrant detention centers will begin in March, places aimed at sorting out those not eligible for asylum.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said the new facilities on eastern Aegean islands near Turkey should be ready to begin operation in the summer, the time when there could be another surge in arrivals.

Turkey is letting human traffickers keep sending refugees and migrants to Greek island during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union. They had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homelands in hopes of reaching more prosperous countries before the EU closed its doors to them.

That left only the option of being granted sanctuary in Greece which is overwhelmed with some 100,000 of them, including about 50,000 on islands where they have been penned up in overcrowded facilities that human rights groups said were not fit for humans.

Speaking on SKAI TV, Mitarakis said that the new facilities, which are designed to replace existing hotspots like the notorious Moria camp on Lesbos island, will speed the return to Turkey of those who don’t get asylum although only about 2,000 have been deported so far.

The New Democracy government is proceeding despite protests from island officials and residents on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos who want the refugees and migrants moved to the mainland, weary of dealing with them for almost five years.

Mitarakis said that Afghan asylum-seekers on the Greek islands currently outnumber those from Syria’s civil war,
He said the new centers will be designed to accommodate a total of 20,000 asylum-seekers for a maximum of three months. He said the government aims to raise the number of weekly returns to 200 and that Turkey indicated it would cooperate although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to flood the EU with millions more.

The government said a presidential decree will also allow the Migration Ministry to seize properties to manage the refugee and migrant crisis.


ATHENS — Police in Greece have raided multiple homes in Athens and detained dozens of suspects in a crackdown on soccer violence that led to the death of a police officer in December.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


A Palestinian Baby in Gaza is Born an Orphan in an Urgent Cesarean Section after an Israeli Strike

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Sabreen Jouda came into the world seconds after her mother left it.

NEW YORK  — Monday's opening statements in the first criminal trial of a former American president provided a clear roadmap of how prosecutors will try to make the case that Donald Trump broke the law, and how the defense plans to fight the charges on multiple fronts.

ASTORIA – The singer Anastasia visited St.

CHICAGO, IL – This spring, Wrightwood 659 hosts Chryssa & New York, the first museum exhibition in North America in more than four decades to focus on the Greek-born artist Chryssa (1933–2013).

NEW YORK – Greek-American George Patrikis, owner of Ditmars Flower Shop in Astoria, was featured in the New York Times on April 15 about the rise in the cost of a dozen red roses from $60 in 2019 to $72 today.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.