Backlog of 22,000 migrants stranded in Lesvos

5 November 2015
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An ongoing seamen’s strike has created a backlog of more than 22.000 migrants and refugees waiting to leave the Aegean island of Lesvos, many of them crowded into the island’s main port in Mytilene, island authorities said on Thursday.

The seamen’s national union federation PNO announced that its 48-hour strike, which has stopped all ferry traffic to the Greek islands, will not be extended after it ends at 6:00 on Friday.

At least 16.000 of the waiting migrants have been registered and issued with the papers they need to travel and are now mainly living on the docks and along the waterfront in Mytilene, as well as in other public spaces, according to the island’s police force.

Roughly 5.000 are non-Syrian nationals that are currently waiting to be registered at the refugee registration and identification ‘hotspot’ in the Moria camp. Between 2000 and 3000 new refugees and migrants arrived on the island on Wednesday and Thursday and are making their way from the beaches where they alighted to the hotspots.

There are now four ships docked at Mytilene port that are ready to depart for Piraeus and Kavala as soon as the strike ends, when they will transport roughly 6.000 people off the island.

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