Afghanistan is facing a new, urgent crisis, and is fearing the consequences of the takeover of the Taliban. As a reaction to that, Greece is strengthening its borders out of fear of a new influx of frightened refugees. Migratory movements into Europe over land and sea are, until now, running as usual. However, the Evros Land Border as well as the eastern Aegean are fortified with armed forces and coast guards to avoid influx of Afghanis to stop any repetition of 2015. A 27km-long fence has been completed at the land border, also drones are already in use. An exchange between Greece’s Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Turkey’s President Erdogan on August 20 concluded that Afghans should “stay as close to their homes as possible” and not come to Turkey nor Greece.
Maritime Surveillance Balloons
Together with Frontex, the Greek border control launched the so-called “Tethered Aerostat” mission. Two gigantic balloons are now stationed above the Aegean sea, they have radars, thermal cameras and an Automatic Identification System. They aim to monitor the maritime field of the Aegean Sea. The land base is stationed on Samos. The technology is partly provided by the Portuguese which makes it a nice example of how European countries can collaborate when it comes to detecting migrants but not when it comes to protecting them.
Record low numbers in Lesvos
Less than 4000 asylum seekers are currently staying in the temporary Mavrovouni Camp in Lesvos, including 265 people living in apartments of which 155 are unaccompanied minors. Also on the rest of the Islands, record-low numbers of people seeking asylum are reported this summer. This is a sad result of the ongoing illegal push backs, and not fully due to less people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Closed control Centers
The Council of State rejected an appeal in August, so that the construction of the two closed camp structures in Chios and Lesvos can be realized. The closed camp structure on Lesvos is going to be located just next to a trash landfill and far away from any other human civilization. The constructions should be started in the coming weeks as soon as the last tenders are completed.
Situation in Greece
After an unprecedented long heatwave, fires across the county have destroyed more than 100’000 hectares of forests, many rural communities lost their homes and their livelihoods. The mishandeling of the wildfire is expected to bring a reshuffle in the cabinet. Covid-19 is still rising in Greece, ICU beds are more than 68% full. Proof of vaccination or a negative test will be newly required to travel by plane, train, boat or long distance bus.
Arrivals and Departures
In August, around 52 boats started their journey to the Aegeans Islands, only 14 made it to the shore of the islands. The others were pushed back, and even worse, many indications show that the Hellenic coast guards forced people who were already on land in Chios and Lesvos back on small dinghies and back into the water where they were dragged until the Turkish water border.