ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece said on Tuesday that resettling migrants from camps in the Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, where they first arrive, could ease Europe’s refugee crisis.
Greece is struggling to control the influx of more than half a million migrants through its islands bordering Turkey, with arrivals spiking over the past two days in a rush to beat the onset of winter.
Some 10,000 people arrived on the island of Lesbos on Sunday and Monday alone, officials said. Reuters witnesses said there had also been a rush on Tuesday of mainly Syrians and Afghans.
“We have a huge problem in not being able to control the flow of arrivals,” migration minister Yannis Mouzalas told Skai TV.
The International Organisation for Migration said of an estimated 650,500 arrivals to European Union states this year, almost 508,000 went through Greece, while the United Nations put that figure at 502,000 on Tuesday.
“That (resettling) would mean we, and countries like Italy and Hungary, would not be dealing with uncontrolled flows of people, save these people from smugglers and from the prospect of drowning trying to get here,” Mouzalas said.
Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Louise Ireland