IOM Monitors Mediterranean Migrant Flows: 7,000 Crossing Daily to Greece

Posted: 
10/09/15
Region-Country: 
Europe and Central Asia / Greece
Themes: 
Missing Migrants, Refugee and Asylum Issues

Greece - In the past week, IOM staff in the Greek islands have recorded a sharp increase in the number of newly arrived migrants and refugees to some 7,000 a day, in contrast with the approximately 4,500 a day recorded at the end of September. This may be due to expected worsening weather conditions.

Despite the increased number of arrivals on the island of Lesvos, the congestion on the island has declined significantly. This is due in part to the fact that 70 per cent of migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece last week immediately crossed into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at Greece’s Idomeni border.

This week, as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann visited Lesvos, there were growing calls for EU member states to act together to resolve the situation in the Mediterranean. The visit coincided with approximately 7,500 migrants leaving the island for Athens.

According to IOM staff in Lesvos, the registration procedure for newly arrived migrants and refugees has again changed. The Hellenic Police’s fast track procedure at Kara Tepe to identify and fingerprint Syrians for inclusion in the EURODAC database will no longer be implemented. Until recently the fast tracking of Syrians was taking place at Kara Tepe, but since last week, fingerprinting has been taking place at the First Reception Center.

Date

Arrivals in the Greek islands

Border Crossings from Greek-FYROM borders

1/10/2015

2,711

5,050

2/10/2015

5,910

4,350

3/10/2015

5,880

2,350

4/10/2015

7,604

4,450

5/10/2015

6,132

2,900

6/10/2015

7,103

5,000

7/10/2015

6,951

6,850

Migrants and refugees have to pay for their own tickets for all their transport in Greece and, according to people interviewed by IOM, nationality has become an important factor in determining how quickly they can leave the islands and travel to the FYROM border.

Syrians are now travelling faster from the islands to the border because they can afford it. They buy tickets for boats to Athens, buses straight to the border and sometimes even pay for taxis that can cost up to EUR 700 a family from Athens to the border.

Afghans, on the other hand, often have to work to get enough money to buy tickets or have to contract friends or relatives to borrow funds for onward travel. Consequently they spend more time transiting Greece.

For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: knamia@iom.int

IOM Monitors Mediterranean Migrant Flows: 7,000 Crossing Daily to Greece