Greek authorities have begun moving asylum-seekers living in a squalid camp on the island of Samos into a new facility on the island, where access will be more strictly controlled.
About 200 people were to be moved to the new camp in the hills of Samos on Monday, with around 200 more scheduled to be transferred on Tuesday.
Authorities have stressed the new camp, dubbed a “closed controlled access center” and built to house 3,000 people, will have far better facilities than the old, dilapidated camp on the edge of the island’s main town.
But rights groups have raised concerns about the controlled nature of the camp, with some describing it as prison-like.
Entry to the European Union-funded, 43-million-euro ($50 million) facility will be strictly supervised, with the entrance open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and access controlled by entry cards and fingerprints.
The new facility is relatively remote, and authorities have said a bus will run to and from the main town four times a day.
The old camp on the edge of Vathy, the main town of Samos, will be shut down. Originally constructed to house just over 600 people at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, it quickly became Greece’s most overcrowded camp, with around 7,000 people living in the facility and a shantytown that developed around it.
On Sunday night, a small blaze broke out in the old camp, with authorities saying the flames were limited to abandoned structures in one section of the camp. No injuries were reported.
Source: AP News.