Greece opens new migrant camp on island to reduce crowding

World News

A view of the new multi-purpose reception and identification migrant centre which was constructed near Vathy town, on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. The centre constructed following a 121 million euros agreement between the European Commission and the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, an amount granted to Greece for the construction of 3 reception centres on the islands of Samos, Kos, and Leros. (AP Photo/Michael Svarnias)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has opened a new migrant camp on the island of Samos that replaces an obsolete and once overcrowded facility.

The new facility cost about 43 million euros ($50 million). It will house up to 3,000 people, about a third of them in 240 small houses and the rest in large halls, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said Saturday.

“The new closed, monitored facility offers much better living conditions, is outside city limits, and has much enhanced security measures to protect the beneficiaries, personnel but also local communities,” Mitarakis said.

The remaining 550 migrants in the old facility that once housed 7,500 people in “shameful conditions” — as the minister acknowledged — will be transferred to the new one beginning Monday.

Greece is bracing for a new wave of migrants after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, although Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has vowed to halt the influx long before it reaches Greece’s border. Samos lies close to the Turkish coast.

Greece is also uncertain about how Turkey, with whom a new phase of tense relations appears to be underway, will use the migrant issue to put pressure upon the 27-nation European Union.

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