Greece urged to do more to take care of migrants

Senior UN agency official Vincent Cochetel has termed the situation for migrants on Greek islands as 'embarrassing'

Greece urged to do more to take care of migrants

World Bulletin / News Desk

Greece needs to do more to take care of migrants and refugees arriving in the country, a senior UN refugee agency official has said.

Addressing a press conference at the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers in Greek capital Athens on Friday, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) European Director Vincent Cochetel said that the first stop of Europe-bound refugees were the Greek islands on the Aegean Sea, where the situation was "embarrassing".

Cochetel, who had visited the islands of Kos, Lesbos and Chios islands recently, said that migrants there were forced to sleep in public places. He urged Greece to deal with the situation by setting up refugee camps that would meet basic needs of migrants.

More than 100,000 refugees have arrived in Greece since the beginning of 2015, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said on July 24. Spindler added that 60 percent of the refugees came from Syria.

“We need to step up the emergency response again as if it was a natural disaster,” Cochetel said. He added that the UN agency was aware of the country’s financial crisis, but since Greece was “a developed country”, it should be able to meet the basic needs of migrants.

“There are so many empty buildings in this country, so much land not cultivated,” he said. “Don’t tell me it’s impossible to find a site for those people,” he added.

The UN official praised the Turkish authorities for setting up refugee camps in the country for a large number of migrants. “Services in these camps are also extraordinary,” he added.

There are 25 camps hosting Syrians in Turkey, six of which are container cities. The remaining 19 are tent cities.

Turkey shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria and has sheltered more than 1.7 million Syrians, according to the UN, with more arriving because of ongoing bloodshed in the war-torn country.

According to government figures, the country has spent more than $6 billion so far on refugees while the international community's help has amounted to $300 million.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ağustos 2015, 11:29