Number of migrants reaching Greece drops after returns to Turkey

The number of migrants reaching Greece from Turkey has dropped in the last 24 hours, Greek migration authorities said Wednesday, just days after authorities began to return migrants to Turkey as part of a deal with the European Union.

Only 68 migrants reached Greece in the last 24 hours, down from 225 a day earlier.

Monday, 202 migrants were returned from the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios to Turkey as part of a deal reached between the European Union and Turkey.

Further returns to Turkey are not likely to occur until Friday, a source at the Greek Coastguard told dpa.

Returns are being delayed because a large wave of asylum applications needs to be processed, authorities said.

Previously migrants in Greece were mostly passing through the country, hoping to apply for asylum in wealthier countries like Germany, but to prevent being returned to Turkey under the new deal with the EU, many are now applying in Greece.

Greek authorities estimate there about around 53,000 migrants stranded in Greece after the so-called Balkan route - the main path used by migrants to reach wealthier European northern and western countries - has largely been shut down.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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