Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UN: Greece Must Take Charge in Refugee Crisis

The United Nations told Greece it must show "much more leadership" in tackling the escalating crisis of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

"The number of refugee arrivals to Greece which have been increasing dramatically and have now reached the 160,000 mark and this is as of the 14th of August," William Spindler of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said at a Geneva news briefing on Tuesday.

To underscore the deadly risks migrants are taking to reach Europe, six Syrian migrants, including an infant, drowned off the Turkish coast Tuesday as they tried to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Responsibility to do more
The UNHCR on Tuesday said the Greek government has a responsibility to do more, and the European Union must also support Athens.

"If the (Greek) central authority would come up with a leadership ambition and appoint somebody who would coordinate this response, then we and other international organizations would be ready to come and help. But it is difficult for us, if there is, to start working on the ground if we don't have somebody who is in charge," the UNHCR’s Spindler said.

"The conditions in Athens are equally poor as on the islands,'' Spindler said, adding that the vast majority of people arriving in Greece will leave the country for other European destinations after a few days.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose government is also grappling with an economic crisis, earlier this month sought help from the European Union, saying, “The immigrant flow to Greece is beyond of what our state infrastructure can handle.”..............http://www.voanews.com/content/german-red-cross-to-distribute-aid-to-migrants-in-greece/2922213.html


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