The mayor of Lesvos is ringing alarm bells over the influx of migrants to the island, calling on the government to step in immediately and take the necessary actions on a national and international level for fear that things will get out of control.
Spyros Galinos, the island’s mayor, sent a letter this week to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and to his ministers stressing the urgency of the situation, which has overwhelmed local authorities and residents and strained the island’s capacity, services and resources.
“Despite our best efforts to address a European — with national implications — problem, there is a serious risk that this situation will get out of control,” Mr Galinos said, referring to the growing number of migrants on the island.
According to a UNHCR report released Tuesday, approximately 600 refugees, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, arrive daily to the Greek islands with half of these entering Lesvos. Arrivals to the island have grown from 737 in January and 1,002 in February, to 3,348 in March. The number grew to 5,000 in April and over 7,200 in May.
“Today there are over 2,500 illegal migrants on Lesvos, and the number is growing daily by leaps and bounds,” Mr Galinos added.
Lesvos’ mayor added that admission points off the Turkish coast are known and in many cases the migrants are set off with the tolerance and support of the Turkish authorities.
In the meantime, at least 400 refugees and migrants were rescued off Greek shores in the past 24 hours.