New refugee and migrant centre to open near Thiva

A new hospitality centre for 700 migrants and refugees is to be established in Thiva, in the repurposed facilities of the former Sakiroglou textile mill. The work on adapting the facility was organised by the International Organisation for Migration with funding from DG ECHO, while Greece’s national defence ministry arranged for the lease of the property using emergency European funds.

The new centre is expected to accept the first refugees in three or four weeks, while IOM will undertake to support its operation and Medecins du Monde will supply a pathologist, gynaecologist and dentist for the centre surgeries and a clinic.

The centre will have 65 apartments for eight people and roughly the same number of housing units in huts set up within the grounds. Each will have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and some will have their own bathroom. The centre will also have areas for educational purposes, a room suitable for women, a counselling area and 60 toilets and showers.

Visiting the centre on Tuesday, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas noted that refugees and migrants would be able to live their in conditions of dignity.

“The centre is the result of a huge effort we are making,” he added, noting that the effort to move from tents to small huts was underway in other camps as well.

Sources said the Thiva camp will be used to house refugees from Elliniko but the minister did not confirm the information when asked, saying that the government had not yet decided who would be taken there. “The transfers are carried out on the basis of a total plan. So whatever I say today will not be valid,” he added.

Questioned about Turkey’s threat to “re-examine” the EU-Turkey deal on migrant flows, Mouzalas stressed that the government was working toward the deal and supported the deal, “which is being observed up to this point.”

Mouzalas was accompanied on his visit by IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson, the head of IOM Greece Daniel Esdras, SYRIZA MP Nikos Thiveos and local authority officials.