The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns of growing asylum crisis in Greece and the Western Balkans amid arrivals of refugees from war, UNHCR Spokesperson William Spindler said on Friday, according to the UNHCR.
The number of refugees arriving in the Greek islands continues to rise, averaging 1,000 people daily. Since the beginning of the year, 77,100 people have arrived by sea to Greece (as of 3 July). Almost 60 per cent are refugees from Syria. Others come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia. Greece is now facing an unprecedented refugee emergency.
Greece's volatile economic situation, combined with the increasing numbers of new arrivals, is putting severe strain on small island communities, which lack the basic infrastructure and services to adequately respond to the growing humanitarian needs. The numbers of people arriving are now so high that, despite all efforts, the authorities and local communities can no longer cope. An urgent response from Europe is needed before the situation deteriorates further, he asserted.
This situation requires a collective and far-reaching response based on the principles of humanity, access to protection, and genuine solidarity and responsibility sharing, both within the EU but also with countries outside the EU. Europe should live up to its traditions in this regard, according to William Spindler.