The emergency evacuation of refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos has begun after the island, normal population 4,000, was overrun with between 15 to 18,000 mostly Syrian people fleeing the war there.
The Greeks have called for extra EU aid to help them deal with the influx, and improve the wretched conditions of the processing centres and temporary camps.
Conditions here have been unacceptable for some time. Now the refugees are being moved to places with better facilities.
“I don’t know how many people are here, nearly 6,000. They all need papers, but the government didn’t make a system to give them ID easily. You must fight, you must push, you must nearly die,” said one refugee from Daraa in Syria.
Over the weekend there were running clashes between migrants furious at the lengthy delays in obtaining ID papers and police.
Greece is highly vulnerable to refugees making a short sea crossing from Turkey to one of their easternmost islands, which already are poorer than the mainland with supply issues of their own. The Mayor of Lesbos’s capital warned he would boycott upcoming elections if his island was not given more help.
Get a different perspective