The refugee-migrant crisis may not be in the front line of the media agenda. Still, not only does the problem remain, but it has begun to take on uncontrollable dimensions. When the competent minister himself admits that, “We are not to blame, but the living conditions of migrants on the islands are bad”, one realises that we again face a borderline situation.
Although we may not have the huge migrant wave of 2015, in recent months the number of refugees reaching the islands has been increasing constantly. Indicatively, in an effort to relieve the situation, nearly 3,000 refugees in October were transported to mainland Greece, but in the same period there were 4,000 new arrivals. The result is that in certain reception centres, the situation is not only dramatic, but inhuman.
“Today there is an emergency situation. Tomorrow, it will be an even greater emergency. So in a matter of weeks we must either find lots of land to extend the reception centres or use ships,” migration minister Mouzalas said yesterday, acknowledging the dramatic nature of the problem. The left-wing opposition may be targeting the competent minister as the person exclusively responsible for the situation, but it is clear that the refugee problem is not a top priority for the government. One cannot expect a ministry with limited powers manage the problem effectively.
Some days ago, a large number of humanitarian organizations issued a warning call and blamed Greece for the miserable living conditions. Before we find ourselves again on the front pages of the international press, the competent authorities must manage as best they can.
The islands that have been bearing the brunt of the crisis over the last two years cannot remain a warehouse for people, without a way out and in chaotic conditions that are unjustifiable in a country with the rule of law. Obviously, the problem is not Greece’s alone, but unfortunately we must manage it. Let us make sure, then, that we absorb the funds offered by the Europeans and, at least, improve the living conditions until other European countries assume their share of the responsibility.