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Friday, August 07, 2015 2:29 PM

Greece Gets Sudden Influx of 50,000 Refugees in July (More Than 2014 Total) Seeks Help From EU

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The already high misery index in Greece is about to get worse.

Greece already has shortages of food and supplies thanks to capital controls, and now it has to deal with a massive influx of unwanted refugees, mostly from Syria, Eritrea, and Turkey.

As a result, Greece Pleads for Help From EU.

Greece faces “a crisis within a crisis” as Athens struggles to cope with the sudden influx of refugees and migrants, sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster at Europe’s border.

Almost 50,000 people entered Greece in July alone – more than the country received during all of 2014 – according to Frontex, the EU’s border agency.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency UNHCR described the migrants’ situation on Kos, Chios and Lesbos, three Greek islands traditionally popular with tourists, as “total chaos”, with arrivals sleeping rough.

“Greece faces a crisis within a crisis,” said Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, who held an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday to accelerate the disbursement of more than €400m in emergency EU funds for refugees.

“The migrant flows exceed the capacity of our state infrastructure,” he added. “We’re making every effort to provide humanitarian aid, but we need the EU to respond immediately.”

Officials in both Brussels and Athens have given warning that Greece is in dire need of support to handle the arrivals, who now number 130,500 since the start of the year — a fivefold increase on 2014, according to Frontex.

Greece has overtaken Italy as the main point of arrival for people fleeing countries such as Syria and Eritrea. In total, Greece has accounted for roughly half of the 224,000 asylum seekers and migrants who have entered the EU so far this year, according to the UNHCR.

Iverna McGowan, a director at Amnesty International, said: “The increase in arrivals in Greece is pushing an already struggling reception system to breaking point.”

To reduce numbers of refugees at the height of the tourist season, local police issue temporary asylum papers to people, who then travel by ferry to Athens.

The challenge posed by this growing crisis has created a political fault line within the EU, with member states deeply divided.

Britain’s complaints about the relatively small numbers of people trying to enter the UK from Calais have exasperated diplomats in other capitals.

I can express the situation in a single word: Help!

Link if video does not play: Beatles: Help!

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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