Greece to Fortify Islands Against Rising Migrant Influx

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.02 - 2024 10:24 AM CET

Photo: Alessio Tricani / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Alessio Tricani / Shutterstock.com
With migrant arrivals surging, Greece commits to increased financial aid and personnel support for its islands.

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In response to the escalating migrant crisis, Greece's conservative government has vowed to extend additional financial aid and personnel resources to the island of Crete and its smaller counterpart, Gavdos.

According to Reuters, this decision comes amid a sharp rise in migrant arrivals, challenging the capacity and resources of these islands to cope with the influx.

A Surge in Migrant Arrivals

Recent months have witnessed a dramatic increase in migrants reaching Crete and Gavdos, with the majority originating from Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The Greek coast guard reports that over 1,180 migrants have landed on these two islands since the beginning of the year, a stark contrast to the 686 arrivals recorded throughout the entirety of 2023.

Notably, both Gavdos and Crete lack migrant reception facilities, making this influx more difficult for the local communities to handle.

"Crete will not be left alone, especially Gavdos, which is a very small island with a small number of permanent residents," stated Migration Minister Dimitris Kairidis during a recent visit to the islands.

"We are here to help the local community. We have the resources and means to do that," the Minister added.

Shift in Migrant Routes

Traditionally, migrants have favored the eastern Greek islands close to Turkey as their entry points into Europe.

However, the recent trend indicates a shift towards Crete and Gavdos, suggesting changes in migration patterns and routes. This shift necessitates a flexible and responsive approach from the Greek government and European Union in managing the crisis.

The announcement of increased support follows recent rescue operations by the Greek coast guard, including the saving of 74 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Southern Europe in a wooden boat.

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