Greece asks Frontex for help as migrant flows surge

Photo: EPA Migrants evacuate Moria refugee camp after the fire, Lesvos island, 29 September.

The Greek coast guard has sent a new request, the second within three weeks, for additional assistance from Frontex, amid the recent surge in migrant flows to the islands of the eastern Aegean, Kathimerini newspaper reported on Monday. More specifically, Greece has asked the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to provide state-of-the-art monitoring equipment – mainly radars and thermal cameras.

The Greek coast guard has deployed more than 50 vessels and 1,300 officers in the Aegean as part of an operational plan by the Shipping Ministry that took effect last week.

Kathimerini also said that the head of the Greek coast guard, Stamatis Raptis, will travel to Ankara on Wednesday for talks with his Turkish counterpart. According to Shipping Ministry officials, cooperation with Turkey is at an adequate level and this has led to the interception of a significant number of undocumented migrants before they leave the Turkish coast heading for Greece.

“On a daily basis, the Turkish coast guard intercepts or immobilizes between five and seven boats with refugees and migrants within its territorial waters,” a source told Kathimerini. Nonetheless, Greek coast guard respond to an average of 30 incidents a day, meaning the rescue of 400 to 500 migrants.

A fire broke out inside a crowded Moria refugee camp on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos close to Turkey and two people died on Sunday, news wires reported.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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