(Paxos, Greece) – According to Greek authorities, the Hellenic Coast Guard has rescued 31 refugees and migrants off the country’s western coast near the island of Paxos. The Coast Guard received a distress call from a vessel that was in danger and the authorities responded to the call. All the migrants and refugees who were on the boat were rescued and were taken to a port in the mainland for processing at Igoumenitsa.
It was reported after the rescue that the migrants were in good health. They told authorities that they sailed from Preveza early on Wednesday morning and that they were headed for Italy. When the boat started to have mechanical trouble, they issued the distress call. Igoumenitsa, where they were transported to, is a major processing center for refugees and migrants who enter Greece.
There are almost 60,000 migrants and refugees living in makeshift and state run camps throughout Greece. Morale in the camps is low as most of those people are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed. The number of refugees and migrants who have come to Greece have been surging since the Turkish coup on July 15, 2016. Prior to that, the numbers had been down since the border closures in the north of Greece as well as a deal between Turkey and the EU were enacted.
Most refugees are eager to leave Greece and relocate to central Europe where there are jobs and schools for their children. Meanwhile, Greece is making an effort to make the conditions in the camps better. They are building new camps as well as overhauling the facilities in existing camps. They are even hoping to start a school for refugee children. The Greek government has said that there are about 2000 refugees whose applications have been processed who are waiting for relocation.