(Cyclades, Greece) – According to the Greek Coast Guard, a sailboat with 67 refugees (60 men, 5 women, and 2 children) hiding on board was picked up during its crossing in the Aegean Sea near the Cyclades. The boat was located a bit further west than the boats crossing from Turkey usually end up. However, the Coast Guard had no comments as to why the boat was in this particular location. It was located near the island of Amorgos. After the Coast Guard picked them up, they were taken to Leros, an island in the Cyclades that has a processing center for migrants. Currently there are around 10,000 migrants and refugees living in islands such as Chios and Lesbos.
Currently, there are about 57,000 migrants living in various state run and makeshift camps throughout Greece. Most of these refugees are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed. Last year, Greece was a major hub for refugees who were hoping to enter Greece and eventually make it to Central Europe so that they could find jobs and send their kids to school. To help control the flow of refugees, the EU and Turkey made a deal that basically said that those arriving in Greece needed to apply for asylum in Greece or else they could be returned to Turkey. This move seems to have controlled the flow of refugees but ever since the Turkish coup on July 15, there has been a slight surge.
Morale amongst refugees in the camps has been fairly low as refugees face long wait times for their applications to be processed. The Greek government is working as fast as they can to review the applications. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to improve the conditions at the camps. Some of the older camps will be closing and there are plans to replace them with temporary living quarters that are much nicer. The Greek government is also planning to hire teachers to start a school for refugee children.