LESBOS, Greece (AP) - Authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos have partly reopened the country’s largest refugee camp to newly arrived migrants despite acute overcrowding.
The camp at Moria was declared “non-manageable” Friday and new arrivals were turned away after the number of inhabitants at the camp reached 12,000 - four times higher than its official capacity.
But a government official said another 111 migrants arrived in four boats Monday. The official said roughly half of Monday’s arrivals were granted accommodation at the camp while the remainder would have to seek a place to sleep in tents outside the site.
He spoke on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to speak to the news media.
The decision to let some stay in the camp was made after security and municipal services on the Greek island attended an emergency meeting for several hours Monday.
More than 2,300 migrants reached Lesbos last week, the highest rate of arrival this year, touching off the crisis before high winds over the weekend discouraged people traffickers on a narrow stretch of sea between Lesbos and the Turkish mainland.
The government has promised more sea patrols and said it would seek additional international support, including resources from the EU border protection agency Frontex.
Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said at the weekend that the Greek armed forces would provide greater support to island coast patrols but did not give further details.
“Our actions must be planned so that our eyes and ears in the Aegean Sea, surveillance mechanisms and personnel cooperate more intensively to tighten surveillance and possibly deterrence,” he said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to discuss the crisis at meetings this week with U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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