(Greece) – Filippo Grandi, the High Commissioner of the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) offered praise to Greek officials in how they have dealt with the refugee and migrant crisis. Grandi met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Prolopis Pavlopoulos, the President of the Hellenic Republic. Grandi, in particular, mentioned that he was impressed with the way Greece received and welcomed the refugees in the first pace.
Grandi also admitted that Greece needs help in improving the conditions at the camps. In particular he said that shelter quality, sanitation, and security are particular issues that need attention. He pointed out that some of the conditions in the camp post security risks especially for women and children. Some of the camps are also in need of sanitation overhauls. Meanwhile, the Greek government is making plans to build new camps on Crete to help with overcrowding, as well as to overhaul some of their existing camps.
He also addressed other European nations saying that they need to adhere to their promise to take in and relocate the refugees once their asylum applications are processed in Greece. Currently, there 41,000 refugees seeking asylum in Greece. There are about 2000 refugees whose asylum applications have been processed and are waiting for word on relocation.
Total, there are about 57,000 refugees and migrants living in state run and makeshift camps throughout Greece. Morale in the camps is fairly low since refugees are experiencing long wait times for their asylum applications to be processed. Greece is also planning to open a school for refugee and migrant children so that they can go to school while they wait.
While Grandi did praise Greece for their efforts in dealing with the situation, he does acknowledge that Greece needs help in making both the process and the conditions even better. The hope is that the refugees and migrants will have a better living environment while they wait.