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Refugee numbers rise on Greek islands

Reporter: Filio Kontrafouri 丨 CCTV.com

10-03-2016 09:21 BJT

Hungary’s closed borders have created a logjam of asylum seekers in the Greek islands off the coast of Turkey. CCTV’s Filio Kontrafouri sent this report from Lesvos, where tensions between refugees and their hosts are reaching breaking point.

Behind the barbed wire and chain-link fences are the migrants who reached the island of Lesvos from Turkey. Moria camp has been overflowing with people and with desperation.

Inside the camp, fighting breaks out almost daily. Sometimes the violence spills outside, angering the islander maybe even endangering them.

“(My island) is a hostage of the policies resulting from the EU-Turkey deal but also by the lack of proper handling within Greece. (Greece’s) handling is based on what is not allowed by the EU-Turkey deal. Under what logic can (Europe) impose on me the way I should handle the situation in my country when they see that some areas are in danger?" said Mayor of Lesvos Spyros Galinos.

The island’s other camp is in much better shape. But there’s not enough room here, either.

The mayor of Lesvos says he can’t control the situation on his island much longer.

"I am not asking for help. I am asking for what I am entitled. I ask that I can be part of the European Union on equal terms, I ask that all countries of the European Union take their fair share of the burden and not leave everything for Greece to handle,"said Mayor of Lesvos Spyros Galinos.

Lesvos has been demanding an immediate transfer of refugees to mainland Greece. But with an average of 100 new arrivals on Greek islands every day, that would only relieve the problem temporarily.

"The whole European policy towards refugees right now is becoming narrower and narrower, it’s becoming more and more restrictive. And one key element in the European solidarity is people have to be moved outside Greece using the temporary relocation mechanism, which is simply going too slowly for the moment. Out of the 66,000 people promised to be relocated from Greece until the end of 2017 only 4,000 have been relocated so far," said Giorgos Kosmopoulos from Amnesty International.

Meanwhile, resentment against the EU-Turkey deal has been deepening here. The question is how long can Lesvos contain that resentment within these fences.

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