The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it has provided housing to over 2,000 vulnerable migrants and refugees transferred from the Aegean islands to continental Greece.
From July 1 until October 5, the UN agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided safe housing for 2,272 vulnerable migrants and refugees who were transferred by the Greek government from the islands of the north-eastern Aegean to continental Greece.
The transferred migrants included 889 children, 393 girls and 496 boys.
Decongestion peak in August
IOM recalled in a statement that the Greek government started procedures to decrease the number of migrants on the islands in July and transfers peaked in August. The procedures are expected to continue over the coming weeks.
The majority of vulnerable migrants and refugees - 875 individuals - are currently hosted in the area of Volvi, in northern Greece. An additional 555 were transferred to Vagiochori, 229 went to Malakasa and 221 to the area of Oinofyta. ''We reached Volvi from Moria 10 days ago'', said Mahmoud Mouri and his wife Diana Ibrahim, who are Kurds from Afrin, Syria. ''We expected something similar to Lesvos and were positively surprised: we have private rooms with services inside''.
Transferred migrants from 24 countries
Migrants and refugees were mainly transferred from the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios to 12 centers officially managed by IOM. In all structures, IOM is working with coordinators, interpreters, legal counsels, operators to support communities and psychologists to guarantee safe and functional housing. Gianluca Rocco, head of the IOM mission in Greece, said the organization ''supports Greek authorities in decongesting islands to improve the hosting capacity of the Greek continent. Our priority is to provide all people who arrive from the islands with dignified living conditions''.
Migrants currently hosted at the centers hail from 24 countries, including 1,136 from Syria, 437 from Iraq, 276 from Afghanistan, 50 from Congo, 46 from Somalia, 41 from Iran.