Refugee children in the port of Thessaloniki after being transfered from the refugee camp of Moria, Lesbos island in the beginning of September | Photo: EPA/NIKOS ARVANITIDIS
Refugee children in the port of Thessaloniki after being transfered from the refugee camp of Moria, Lesbos island in the beginning of September | Photo: EPA/NIKOS ARVANITIDIS

A five-year-old boy was killed on the Greek island of Lesvos after he was hit by a truck near the Moria refugee camp. Migrant arrivals have spiked in recent weeks despite increased controls.

The ongoing refugee crisis in Greece continues unabatedly. Last Thursday, tragedy struck the island of Lesbos when a five-year-old migrant boy was run over by a truck and killed near the island's main refugee camp, Moria.

According to reports by the Greek state broadcaster ERT, the boy, who was from Afghanistan, was playing hide-and-seek in a cardboard box and was hit by the truck as it was turning into the parking lot of a nearby business where it was making a delivery.

Police on Lesbos have been questioning the truck driver as part of their continuing investigation into the incident. It was not yet officially clear why the boy was in the cardboard box, or whether he was actually a resident at the Moria camp. 

The camp is currently bursting at the seams with over 12,000 people - four times its capacity of just 3,000. 

The tragedy is yet another black page in the history of the controversial camp, which has come under constant criticism from human rights groups, NGOs and media observers for its squalid living conditions. Despite this, there is little that the camp's management can do on its own, aside from transferring more people to the mainland. 
Desperate situation 

Greece is struggling to cope with continuing spikes in new migrant arrivals. The country is desperately trying to avoid scenes of pandemonium such as those that characterized the 2015 start of the current refugee crisis. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has sought international help, as the ongoing migrant crisis threatens to spiral out of control once more in the country. 

The Greek government held an emergency meeting over the weekend at Maximos Mansion, the official seat of the Greek prime minister, and is seeking solutions this week in meetings with international leaders in the United States. The current situation in the eastern Aegean islands is desperate, especially at the notorious Moria camp on the island of Lesbos. 

Arriving migrants find themselves stuck in extremely difficult living conditions, while already beleaguered local communities are simply not willing to take on the burden of accepting more people amid ongoing concerns for public health and safety. 

More arrivals despite more controls 

Greece has stepped up border controls and patrols in an effort to stem the flows of undocumented migrants trying to enter the country, following huge spikes in new arrivals over the last month. However, people keep coming. 

Around 300 refugees who arrived on the nearby island of Symi from Turkey over the past few days will be transferred off the tiny southeastern Aegean island by the end of the week. The decision comes in response to a number of complaints made by Symi Mayor Eleftherios Papakalodoukas, who has emphasized that the island is completely unequipped to host, feed and care for any asylum seekers. Most of the 300 were sleeping rough on the streets or staying outside in front of the police station. 

Papakalodoukas said Symi has received around 1,500 migrants since the start of June, most of whom have since been transferred to reception camps on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros.

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