(Crete, Greece) – Greece has acknowledged that its current refugee camps are nearing capacity. With over 57,000 refugees and migrants living in the camps as they wait for the asylum applications to be processed, the Greek government has acknowledged that more needs to be done in order to make the conditions more comfortable. One of their solutions is to build additional refugee camps on the island of Crete.
Yiannis Mouzalas, the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy, shared his plan to ease the current, overcrowded conditions at the existing camps by building additional camps on Crete. Some of the refugees who are in some of the more crowded situations will then be moved to the new camps on Crete. Greece is hoping that it will make the conditions a tthe camps a little bit better for the refugees and migrants.
He said, “In the second phase, we’d like to ask Crete to accept about 2000 refugees or migrants who will be distributed around the island. The prefecture and municipalities can work out how to distribute them and we will respect their proposals.” He also added that only those refugees who have gone through the initial processing phase will be moved to these camps. However, they also said that they will do their best to separate the ethnic groups to make sure that they live amongst their own people and with their families. Construction for the camps is expected to start in November of 2016.
Greece is a major point of entry for refugees and migrants who have left their war torn countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. The country had a major surge of migrants last summer in 2015, but the numbers have since gone down considerably since the closing of Greece’s northern border and an agreement between Turkey, Greece, and the European Union. Still, thousands of refugees have made Greece their home while waiting to hear about the status of their asylum applications.