Accessibility links

EU: Migrant Crisis in Greece 'Beyond Urgent'

  • VOA News

Police try to disperse hundreds of migrants during a registration procedure at a stadium on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Aug. 11, 2015.

Police try to disperse hundreds of migrants during a registration procedure at a stadium on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Aug. 11, 2015.

The influx of migrants from the Middle East to Greece continues, with about 100 to 500 landing on the Greek island of Kos every day - joining thousands already camped there.

Greece has been overwhelmed by the wave of refugees and economic migrants, mostly from Syria - with more than 125,000 of them reaching the eastern Aegean islands this year, a 750 percent increase compared to 2014.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Brussels, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said that the situation in Greece, particularly in Kos is very serious and the EU is working with several refugee agencies, primarily with its border management agency, to assist:

“With record numbers of migrants arriving at the Greek borders at the moment the situation is beyond urgent and requires a collective European response," she said. "We have also tripled the resources we devote to our maritime operations to help Greece patrol its borders and also to save lives.”

Earlier this week, the EU approved national funding programs of $528 million. Greece was expected to get its first disbursement of more than $33 million quickly.

In addition to funds, the EU has also proposed a relocation system to transfer 16,000 people in need of international protection from Greece to other EU member states.

EU leaders pledged earlier this year to provide Europe's border management agency with additional assets to cope with the influx of people fleeing poverty and armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Tens of thousands of migrants have arrived in Europe by sea this year alone - mostly in Greece and Italy. Many have died in the attempt.

XS
SM
MD
LG