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Greek: Greek Island Samos at ‘breaking point’ after migrant camp blaze

21:10: 2019

Following the fire at an overcrowded migrant camp on the Greek Island of Samos which left hundreds without shelter, the local mayor has said the island has reached a breaking point.

The mayor has said that hundreds of migrants are now having to sleep in the streets and public squares as a result of Monday’s fire which destroyed several housing units at the Vathy migrant processing center, Ekathimerini reports.

During a morning television talk show on Thursday, East Samos Mayor Giorgos Stantzos told reporters, “The island has become destabilized. We are counting down for something bad to happen.”

Mayor Stantzos has urged the government in Athens to hasten migrant relocations to the Greek mainland to lessen the pressure on the camp as it undergoes repairs.

“Samos residents are exhausted. They need measures immediately,” he said.

Stantzos also mentioned that 6,000 migrants at the Vathy migrant reception center are having to live in a space that was originally designed to house less than 700. 

Meanwhile, more waves of migrants from Turkey continue to reach Greek shores.

Tensions remain sky high at the migrant camp. Earlier in the week on Monday, several fights broke out between groups of Syrian and Afghan migrants which saw three Syrians hospitalized for stab wounds.

According to the Greek City Times, twelve migrants of different nationalities have been arrested for the roles they played in Monday’s violent clashes which resulted in the fires. Two migrants face charges of attempted murder and one has been charged with arson.

The Vathy fire is the second fire to break out at a migrant reception center on a Greek island in just weeks.

Earlier this month, two people were killed after migrants in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos set fires to housing units and violently clashed with police and firefighters.

This year, 46,100 migrants have made their way to Greece, compared to 37,300 in the previous year.

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