The total number of refugees and migrants who reached Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands during 2019 reached the astounding figure of 46,026, according to official data revealed on Thursday.
According to the North Aegean Police Directorate of Greece, 27,148 refugees and migrants arrived on the island of Lesvos, while 8,076 landed on Chios and 10,802 on Samos.
The number of arrivals on the island of Lesvos during 2019 is particularly jaw-dropping if we take into account the number of migrants already living there in 2017 and the number of new arrivals who came in 2018.
Lesvos took in almost double the number of refugees and migrants in 2019 compared to the previous year, when 14,906 people landed on its shores.
A total of 13,406 people had arrived on the famed vacation island during the year 2017.
A total of 8,089 individuals were transferred from the islands to organized migrant camps on the Greek mainland in 2017; the next year, this figure rose to 14,135. During 2019 there were 13,406 migrants transferred to mainland facilities from migrant camps.
However, the number of refugees and migrants on Lesvos still remains alarmingly high.
Regional governor of the North Aegean islands Costas Moutzouris, speaking on the occasion of the new year on Wednesday, expressed his deep fears regarding the current situation on the islands for which he is responsible.
”Traditionally, we give inspiring and optimistic speeches these days — but I can’t,” Moutzouris said in an address to the regional council of North Aegean on New Year’s Day.
”Our homes are on fire, I see my country being deteriorated, I see everyone abandoning us,” the governor said in an uncharacteristically alarming speech regarding the actual situation on the islands today.
Currently, the Moria camp alone on Lesvos is housing a total of 18,747 asylum seekers, when it was originally designed to shelter approximately 2,150 individuals.
Seventy-three percent of these are Afghan nationals, twelve percent are Syrians, five percent are from Somalia and the rest are primarily from other African nations.