Europe

Austria to send 181 containers to Greece for refugees

Containers will meet needs of asylum seekers at camps where overcrowding may lead to spread of cornavirus

Magda Panoutsopoulou   | 09.04.2020
Austria to send 181 containers to Greece for refugees


ATHENS 

In a rare move, the Austrian government has vowed to send 181 containers to Greece for the accommodation and healthcare of asylum seekers.

The decision came during a video conference on Wednesday between Greece’sAlternate Migration and Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos and Austria's Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.

Despite being one of the richest countries in the EU, Austria has not accepted any asylum seekers after the crisis rang out in Syria in 2011.

The Greek Migration Ministry said in a statement: "The cooperation of the two governments aims at the timely preparation for dealing with possible consequences from the combination of the migration crisis and the pandemic."

Meanwhile, Immigration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said in parliament on Wednesday that the government has an emergency plan to deal with prospective COVID-19 cases.

Mitarakis said that in the 38 facilities around the country where some 70,000 asylum seekers live, there are 28 coronavirus cases in total, while there have been no deaths.

The camps have been placed under quarantine.

Moreover, a resettlement procedure for unaccompanied children from the Greek reception centers to other European countries will begin next week.

Some 12 children will head to Luxembourg next Wednesday and another 50 to Germany two days later.

Eight more EU members have expressed interest in taking in asylum seekers.

Greece has been harshly criticized by civil society groups for the inhumane conditions asylum seekers are living in.

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