“The issue of the control and management of the migration flow is a European problem, and exceeds the capabilities of a small island like Kos”, the island’s mayor, George Kyritsis, said in an announcement on Thursday referring to the major influx of refugees from the Turkish coast.
The mayor noted that assistance and support are provided to the migrants thanks to the joint efforts of the local authorities, citizens and local entrepreneurs.
“We have strived to combine tourism and local solidarity without upsetting the overall experience of visitors to our island”, Mayor Kyritsis underlined.
Over the last few days, the local authorities of Kos have set up administrative offices in order to maximize the identification process for refugee credentials to be processed in a timely manner.
According to the mayor, the identification of refugees and migrants takes place in a restricted area and does not disturb the regularity of local life.
“Kos is and remains the 4th most popular tourist destination in Greece and continues to await the arrival of its guests”, Mr. Kyritsis said.
In regards to tension that broke out a few days ago by a small group of refugees, eager to obtain their identification papers so they could continue their journey to other European countries, and which required police intervention, the mayor referred to it as an “isolated incident”.
The incident, which took place in the island’s stadium, received much local and international publicity.
“The specific area in which the isolated incident arose is far from the thousands of tourists who safely enjoy their summer holidays on Kos and continue to experience our exceptional hospitality”, the mayor said.
Mr. Kyritsis noted that refugees on the island are expected to have departed by Friday, August 14.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), some 124,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Greece by sea since January, a massive 750 percent rise on the same period in 2014.