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Refugee arrivals in Greece 'accelerated' in August: UN

Greece is hosting around 60,000 refugees and migrants, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 September, 2017

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The number of migrants arriving in Greece picked up pace in August, the UN refugee agency said on Friday, warning that the increase was straining conditions in overcrowded island camps.

Migrants arrivals in Greece picked up pace in August, the UN refugee agency said on Friday, warning that the increase was straining conditions in overcrowded island camps.

"The UN refugee agency is concerned by the deteriorating situation on Greece's eastern Aegean islands," the UNHCR said in a statement, calling for additional resources.

"The number of new arrivals, which accelerated in August, is putting pressure on overcrowded reception facilities and hampering efforts to improve conditions," it said.

The islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Leros have received the largest number of arrivals, mostly from Syria and Iraq, including many children.

There were over 3,600 arrivals via the Aegean in August compared with about 2,200 in July.

Greece is hosting around 60,000 refugees and migrants, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, in camps around the country. 

Many have become desperate to be allowed to continue their journey after several EU states shut down their borders last year, while others fear they will be deported to Turkey.

With the rate of arrivals now outpacing the speed at which authorities allow asylum claimants to move to the Greek mainland, there is an increased threat of violence, self-harm and sexual assault, the UN agency said.

The EU and Turkey last year sealed an agreement which has helped to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants into Greece.

But Ankara has threatened to rescind the deal at times when tensions have flared with Brussels over human rights concerns.

#Voice4Alan

The latest comments came as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced a campaign designed to remind the world of the continuing refugee crisis, despite the dwindling coverage.

To mark the death anniversary of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi (also known as Alan), whose lifeless body on a beach sent shockwaves across the world after the release of a haunting image, the UNCHR launched "Remember the Name. Remember the Day."

Kurdi's unforgettable photograph, which was captured by Turkish journalist Nilfufer Demir, prompted international outcry in solidarity with refugees, and the heart-breaking image quickly became a poignant symbol of the struggle of Syrian refugees desperately attempting to find safety in Europe.

Aylan was photographed lying on a Turkish beach in 2015, after he, his five-year-old brother and their mother died when their rubber boat capsized as it headed for Greece.

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