On Wednesday, the organization Alarm Phone alerted the Greek authorities to a group of 29 migrants reportedly stuck on an uninhabited island near Lesbos. One woman in the group had reportedly given birth to a baby overnight.
On Wednesday morning (June 22), Alarm Phone tweeted that it had been informed about 29 people who were stuck on the island of Barbalias, a small, uninhabited island north-east of Lesbos. One woman in the group had given birth to a child overnight, the organization said.
Alarm Phone called on the Greek authorities to offer immediate medical help and rescue. The organization acts as a helpline for people in distress at sea but does not conduct rescue operations, according to its website.
About three and a half hours later, Alarm Phone said they had been told that the group had indeed been rescued from the island and had been brought to Mytilene, on Lesbos. The group is also thought to have 11 children in it.
"We are relived and wish the mother and the newborn a good recovery" stated Alarm Phone. The tweet came after a series of alerts about groups of migrant arrivals in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on Tuesday, June 21.
According to the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, the group was now thought to number 31 and "are believed to be from Eritrea." Ekahtimerini said the Greek coast guard had conducted the operation and confirmed they were transferred to Mytilene.
According to Alarm Phone, in a separate incident, one migrant had reportedly swam alone to the Greek island of Kos. He had then got "stuck in the port". "The person had to walk [unaided] for 24 hours from the port to the camp with an injured leg," they said.
Alarm Phone said the Greek authorities had not responded to the emergency call, but finally the man is thought to have arrived at the camp.
Two more groups on Lesbos
Meanwhile, Alarm Phone on Tuesday also said they had been alerted to two groups of migrants who had become stranded on the island of Lesbos. One group of eight people said they wanted to request asylum and needed help. The other group, of five people, were also calling for help. They appear to belong to the same group "but have split from them", Alarm Phone said.
In figures released by the Greek Migration and Asylum Ministry, and reported by Ekathimerini on June 21, the numbers of arrivals of migrants and refugees has "increased by 36%" in the first five months of 2022, compared to arrival numbers a year earlier. The number of resident asylum seekers though showed a "significant decrease" compared to 2021, reported the newspaper.
Ekathimerini said that arrivals to the Greek islands in 2022 had risen 53% and via the Evros river land border region in the north-east of the country by 26%. May was a particularly busy month for arrivals, with the numbers increasing by 96% compared to the same month in 2021.
Arrivals in Greece
Ukrainians reportedly accounted for a large part of that increase. In May, 8,699 Ukrainians entered Greece. 19% of these are reported to be minors. Between February -- when Russia invaded Ukraine -- and the end of May, a total of 32,589 Ukrainians are thought to have arrived in Greece. 16,237 of them have made electronic applications for temporary protection and 14,764 permits have been issued.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR's latest figures, which monitors the numbers of those arriving without papers across the land and sea borders, and were last updated on June 19, there have been 4,764 migrant migrant arrivals in the country since the beginning of 2022.
2,433 of those arrived by sea, and 2,331 by land.
The highest proportion of arrivals since the beginning of the year (last updated on April 30) were nationals from the Palestinian Territories (31.3%), followed by Afghans (8.7%), closely followed by those from Somalia (8.5%).
Of the Greek Islands, Lesbos still receives the greatest number of arrivals, at 695, closely followed by Kos at 624. Samos received 336 arrivals and a variety of other islands also received 338. Chios, Leros and Rhodes all received between 100 and 200 arrivals since the beginning of the year.
Aegean Boat Report
According to the organization Aegean Boat Report, which monitors migration activity in this area, 264 people arrived on the Greek islands between June 13 and June 19. A total of 51 boats began their trip towards the islands, "carrying a total of 1,268 people," but 43 of these boats "were stopped / pushed back."
The organization says that since the beginning of 2022, a total of 620 boats have been reportedly "picked up by the Turkish coast guard and police, with 18,454 people on board."
Other pushbacks, allege the organization were carried out by the Greek coast guard. A charge the country has repeatedly denied, despite other international organizations also providing evidence to support similar claims.