UNHCR calls on Greece to prepare refugee accommodation centres for winter

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday called on Greek authorities to speed up winter preparations in refugee accommodation centres run by the Greek government in the Aegean islands, where conditions are rapidly deteriorating as arrivals increase, while the weather is expected to get worse with heavy rains and cold.

“UNHCR called for action on the islands in order to reduce overcrowding, improve accommodation, supply and distribution of basic necessities,” Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece, said in an announcement.

Pressure in overcrowded centers continued in September with nearly 5,000 new arrivals, with hundreds of children, women and men forced to sleep in small tents and in accommodation centres unsuitable for winter, the announcement said.

Arrivals by sea in Greece reached 20,000 this year, and most were from Syria or Iraq.