Refugees waiting to be registered in the Asylum Service in the identification center in Moria| PHOTO: ARCHIVE/EPA/Panagiotis Balaskas
Refugees waiting to be registered in the Asylum Service in the identification center in Moria| PHOTO: ARCHIVE/EPA/Panagiotis Balaskas

Police on the Greek island of Lesvos arrested 13 asylum seekers after violent clashes at the Moria refugee camp following a surge in arrivals at the overcrowded facility.

A total of 13 asylum seekers between the ages of 14 and 32 have been arrested by police on the Greek island of Lesvos after violence broke out over the weekend between rival ethnic groups at the Moria refugee camp following a surge in arrivals at the overcrowded facility.


According to police, seven people were injured after clashes between groups of mainly Afghan migrants. Those arrested were charged with causing grievous bodily harm.The situation had been relatively calm over the past two months at the controversial camp, known for its overcrowding and poor living conditions. But the incident is just the latest in a long history of violence. Police said that those involved in the clash used sharpened wooden and metal objects as weapons. 

Surge in arrivals 

Despite a short period of calm, the atmosphere is generally regarded as tense at the facility. Over 5,500 people are currently registered at Moria, which was originally designed with a capacity of 3,500. Between May and June, numbers rose by nearly a thousand. In May just over 4500 people were recorded as living in the camp. 

Warm summer temperatures have prompted more attempts to cross the sea from neighboring Turkey. According to official data, as of June 28, 1,421 people arrived on Lesvos, while 75 more arrived on Saturday morning. The numbers are significantly higher compared to the same period last year, when 1,048 asylum-seekers were recorded as having arrived on the island. 

Greece still struggling to cope 

Since the height of the inflows of migrants in 2015 Greece has welcomed huge numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers.Itself besit by economic problems, Greece is still struggling to cope with the thousands of asylum seekers living in camps all across the country. Many live in what has been described as "terrible living conditions" in facilities including Moria on Lesvos, as well as similar camps on Chios and Samos. 

This summer the situation shows no sign of imminent change. Overall, it is estimated that Greece's population of asylum seekers will surpass the 90,000 mark by the end of 2019 if numbers keep increasing at current rates. Greece's Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas said last month that the country currently has the capacity to process only 20,000 asylum applications every year, whereas the number of applications filed in 2018 were 67,000. 
 

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