Refugees stranded in Greece increase by a third in last five months

Refugee flows into Greece are rising following the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

The numbers of refugees arriving in Greece dipped significantly – close to zero some days in April – after the EU/Turkey deal came into operation. Instead, routes into Italy became busier.

IOM migration snapshot mid-August 2016Figures from the Institute of Migration (IOM) show that since the mid-July disturbances in Turkey, arrivals in Greece may slowly be on the rise with around 800 people a week arriving, while the numbers reaching Italy have fallen. (Numbers fluctuate from day to day and week to week.)

In five months, the number of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece has risen by a third: from 42,688 on 10 March 2016 to 57,098 on 10 August 2016. Most of these people are hosted in official reception camps in Greece.

IOM Greece stranded figures mid-August 2016

UNHRC say that “most arrivals in August so far have been to Chios, Lesvos and Kalymnos”.

The increase in arrivals on the Aegean islands “have placed additional pressure on the already overstretched reception facilities” according to the UNHRC.

On Chios, maximum capacity has been reached in Vial Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) and the informal sites Souda, Dipethe, thus posing challenges in sheltering new arrivals. A new site on Chios is being prepared with the support of UNHCR but will not be ready for at least three months. As part of the decongestion efforts on the islands, the Government is planning to transfer 1,000–2,000 asylum-seekers issued with asylum cards (mainly Syrians) to sites on the mainland.

The EU/Turkey deal has stalled since mid-June.

As of 10 August, a total of 468 migrants and refugees were readmitted from Greece to Turkey as part of the EU/Turkey Agreement with last readmission taking place on 16 June 2016. The majority of migrants and refugees were Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi and Iranian nationals. [source: IOM]