Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Riot police have been sent to the island of Lesvos as construction of new reception centers begins. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) says it is gravely concerned about the deteriorating situation on the Greek islands, as a fresh wave of tension washes over Lesvos and Chios. 

Riot police have arrived on the islands, to provide security for the building operations for new centers to house asylum seekers. Members of the local community have protested at the manner in which the Greek government is seeking to address the serious humanitarian crisis single-handedly.

Locals have been increasingly concerned with the high numbers of asylum seekers forced to stay on the islands and the terrible conditions they are living in; almost 20,000 people continue to live in Moria, a reception center designed for just 3,000.  

Dimitra Kalogeropoulou, IRC Greece Director, said:

"The rise in tensions comes as no surprise. Local communities have been impacted by the government’s policies towards asylum seekers, especially the containment policy, which has trapped over 40,000 people on the islands. Tensions like what our teams witnessed last night, increase the complexity of an already very challenging situation, but one thing is clear: overcrowding on the islands is good for no one; local communities feel their islands have been transformed into giant prisons, while asylum seekers are forced to live in dangerous conditions. 

Greece cannot continue to deal with the situation on its own and EU member states need to step up in solidarity and share responsibility for protecting people in need,” he said.

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