Migration Ministry begins transfer of refugees out of Moria

The Migration Ministry on Monday began the transfer of refugees out of the Moria hotspot on Lesvos islands to centers in northern Greece, in an effort to relieve overcrowding and substandard living conditions.

A total of 440 refugees of various nationalities including men, women and children were transferred to the port of Mytilini, where they were checked off registration lists and given documents proving they were applicants for refugee status, before boarding ships for Piraeus.

In scenes reminiscent of war films, families carried their belongings in travel bags and took photographs at the port and of the island where some of the youngest family members were born, in a five-hour operation overseen by the director of the Migration Minister’s office Costas Xynogalas and the head of the Moria hotspot Yiannis Balbakakis.

Another 100 refugees will be transferred to the mainland on Tuesday, 400 on Wednesday, and 600 on Thursday and Friday, in efforts to relocate 2,000 refugees from Moria by the end of the month and drastically reduce the population at Moria to under 5,000. The transfers will continue past this month.

All refugees will be transported to facilities in northern Greece: Volvi (1,100), Katsikas in Ioannina area (560), Grevena (860) and Filipiada (280).