Migrant crisis ‘surpasses’ Greek abilities: Tsipras
ATHENS – Agence Frence-Presse
REUTERS photoGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Aug. 7 said a huge influx of migrants and refugees “surpassed” his debt-hit country’s abilities as he announced a raft of measures and asked for EU help to handle the crisis.
“This problem surpasses us. Greece is a country in economic crisis, and it faces a major humanitarian crisis within a crisis,” Tsipras said.
“These dimensions exceed our country’s capabilities, they are European dimensions.”
The premier announced a raft of measures to improve government coordination after the U.N. refugee agency termed Athens’ response to the problem “totally shameful.”
The U.N. refugee agency’s division for Europe said Greece had provided virtually no reception facilities for 124,000 refugees and migrants that have landed since the beginning of the year.
Tsipras said his government would speed up identification procedures to get migrants and refugees to the mainland as soon as possible.
At the moment, thousands who land on the eastern Aegean islands near Turkey are often forced to sleep in the open, with minimal access to hygiene, because local authorities have been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.
Many of them are women and children - including unaccompanied minors.
A new housing center will soon be completed near central Athens to relocate hundreds of migrants currently sleeping in one of the capital’s parks, Tsipras added.