The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday appealed to the Greek government to improve conditions and reception capacity for refugees arriving in Greece via the Evros river and the land border with Turkey, following a recent spike in arrivals.
According to UNHCR, over 2,900 people have arrived in Evros in April, mostly families from Syria and Iraq, and hundreds are currently being housed in police jail pens. Based on its latest figures, UNHCR noted, arrivals via the land border exceeded arrivals from the sea in April.
Since reception and identification centers (hotspots) are overcrowded and authorities are already struggling to promptly record and identify new arrivals, as well as to provide medical services and interpreters, new arrivals are being taken to unsuitable accommodation in police detention facilities while they wait for a vacancy in one of the hotspots.
?In spite of the fact that we welcome the recent release of 2,500 people by Greek authorities as a positive development, we are concerned that this happened without examining their level of vulnerability and without offering the necessary information about asylum procedures and other possible options,? the UNHCR announcement said.
The UNHCR will continue to support the Greek government by offering blankets, clothes, sanitation supplies and other, non-food items, it concluded.