With improving weather, more attempted migrant crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands are leading to incidents in and around Lesbos, Chios and Samos. The latest case is that of an Iranian migrant who drowned on Sunday off the northern coast of Lesbos after attempting to swim ashore from an overloaded boat.
A 27-year-old Iranian migrant drowned on Sunday off the northern coast of Lesbos in the eastern Aegean after attempting to swim ashore from an overloaded boat, Greek Coast Guard officers confirmed. According to local reports, the man appeared to lose consciousness while swimming at a depth of just one meter with a group of compatriots, and although he was pulled ashore and rushed to a hospital, medics confirmed his death on arrival.
The influx of undocumented migrants to the islands of the eastern Aegean has increased in recent weeks due to improving weather. The government is said to be planning action to ease the pressure on increasingly overcrowded reception centers. Migration Minister Giannis Mouzalas is expected to issue an order which bans migrants who appeal against a rejection of their application for political asylum from a voluntary repatriation scheme run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Inceased police efforts to locate and detain migrants who face deportation to Turkey
Police on the islands are also bolstering efforts to locate and detain migrants who face deportation to Turkey in line with the agreement signed in March last year between Ankara and Brussels. Only last week, a new detention center opened on the island of Kos, which will operate as a hub to detain migrants facing deportation, similar to the one already in operation on Lesbos.
Other refugees and migrants awaiting the outcome of asylum applications or inclusion in the IOM's repatriation scheme are to be ordered to remain in the island's main reception center. Police however, are facing deeper problems on Chios, which has seen a spike in arrivals from Turkey in recent weeks which has gone hand in hand with unsettling incidents.
Last Thursday, a 29-year-old Syrian migrant was hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns after setting himself on fire at the Vial refugee camp. Local residents and regional council groups are strongly opposing the creation of such centers and recently Mouzalas himself was quoted as saying that Greece, and especially the eastern Aegean islands, "cannot take in even one more migrant".
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