Another 500 migrants picked up near Greek islands

At least 474 migrants have been picked up on or around the Greek islands between 16 and 17 October 2019, according to Greek authorities. 

Greek islands in the Aegean Sea currently host a huge number of refugees arriving from Turkey. The government is currently hosting a record number 31,000 people on the islands. 

Overcrowding at Greek camps has become a serious hazard. A camp on Moria island was holding over 13,000 migrants when it only had capacity for 3,000. Humanitarian organisations have criticised Moria camp for its squalid living conditions

Another overcrowded camp on Samos island was recently partially destroyed in a fire, resulting in at least 600 migrants being left homeless.

The Greek government is taking measures to deal with the recent influx of migrants and overcrowded camps. Many migrants are being relocated from island camps to mainland camps

Greece is also speeding up their asylum process and removing the appeals stage of the process, directly deporting applicants back to Turkey or their country of origin. There are plans to deport at least 10,000 migrants by the end of 2020. 

Greece has asked the EU and Turkey to take more actions to decongest the overcrowded camps. Solving the problem is now a priority, according to EU officials. 

Other southern EU countries have also received a large share of migrants in 2019. Spain has received nearly 30,000 migrants, followed by Italy at nearly 8,000, Malta at around 1,600 and Cyprus at about 800. 

Many European governments have been highly criticised on the way they have organised their relocation of migrants. France and Italy are calling for an automatic system to distribute migrants across the EU, lessening the responsibility of receiving countries. This would include a punishment for those countries which refuse to take in migrants.

TMP – 29/10/2019

Photo credit: Nicolas Economou /

Photo caption: Lesvos island, Greece – 29 October 2015. Syrian migrants / refugees arrive from Turkey on boat through sea with cold water near Molyvos, Lesbos on an overload dinghy.