Amid the dire situation in the emergency tent camp of Kara Tepe on Lesbos, an Austrian bishop has pleaded for Austria and other EU member states to take in more refugees from the Greek island.
"A humanitarian catastrophe shortly before Christmas is underway," Franz Lackner, the chair of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, said on Sunday on Austrian television.
Referring to the Kara Tepe migrant camp on the Greek Aegean islands of Lesbos, the Austrian archbishop urged all institutions to do their part.
"Nobody can exempt themselves from the aid that's required," Lackner said. "To me, the moment has come, also for Austria, to particularly take in families with children."
Support for refugees needed to be delivered on a global scale, but the European Union also needed to step up, the cleric said. As a first step, refugees needed to be transferred from Lesbos to the Greek mainland, Lackner added.
Lackner, who has been serving as the archbishop of the Austrian city of Salzburg since 2013, also recognized the aid Austria had already provided.
Dangerous migrant camp
According to the latest data from UN refugee agency UNHCR, 19,500 refugees and asylum seekers are currently staying on the Greek Aegean Islands. Close to half of them are originally from Afghanistan. 147 asylum seekers departed to the mainland between December 7 and 13.
The Kara Tepe tent camp was erected in September after a fire devastated the Moria camp, displacing more than 12,000 people who were staying in and around Europe's then-largest migrant camp.
Last week, a three-year-old Afghan girl was found bleeding and unconscious in a bathroom at the Kara Tepe camp on Lesbos. A forensic examination determined that she had been raped.