Greece said Sunday it hoped thousands of asylum seekers left homeless by fires at Europe’s largest migrant camp could be rehoused within a week.
The announcement came as a new so-called tent city at Kara Tepe opened to the first people. At least 300 people were expected to move into the 3,000-capacity camp by the end of the day on Sunday.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi told reporters Sunday that: “In five days the operation will be concluded. Everybody will be inside the new camp.”
But a large number of migrants have refused to enter the new camp, demanding asylum to other EU countries or better living conditions.
Those who did begin to enter on Sunday had to undergo coronavirus tests.
Germany under pressure to take in migrants
Many of the 11,000 asylum seekers who fled the camp earlier in the week have been sleeping rough on Lesbos since Wednesday.
Clashes occurred on Saturday after hundreds of migrants staged a mostly-peaceful demonstration.
The destruction of the camp has presented a challenge to Greek officials trying to care for the migrants and prompted offers of aid from across Europe, while also fueling criticism of EU migration policy.
Germany’s offer to take in up to 150 children was met with widespread criticism earlier this week by rights groups, who say Germany can afford to house more of the homeless migrants.
Development Minister Gerd Müller became the latest high-profile politician to criticize Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s quota, on Sunday calling for Germany to take 2,000 of the migrants.
ed/rc (AP, Reuters)
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