Athens, February 3, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Particular emphasis on sanitary and children hospitality areas gives the project the ministry of Defence for the completion of the works on five refugee reception centers in Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros and the two relocation centers for their promotion, presented by Defence minister Panos Kammenos.
Having assured the completion of the work by February 15, Kammenos referred to the current situation in the seven centers.
He said the works in Lesvos are almost completed, while in Chios, the situation is good. The Armed Forces will provide generators and create a desalination system for the lighting and water supply center. In Samos tents will be used to create infrastructure for toilets. In Kos there will be requisition of the land upon which the center will be built – It belongs by 50% to the Church and by 50% to two other owners – because one of the owners is expressing his disagreement. In Leros things are easier, as there is an offer from Greek Petroleum Company for an area between the naval base and the psychiatric hospital. Dormitories will be constructed in Sindos, where the military installations have been looted, while tents will also be made available. The same will happen in the guarded camp in Schisto.
The following sections will be created in these centers:
Department of transport that will be in charge with keeping up with the timetables of 24 hours for the stay of refugees on the island and for the 72 hours in the relocation centers.
Department of health, which will be co-staffed by military and police doctors. The department will have the capability for the quick examinations of refugees, in addition to the special areas for children with pediatricians and the involvement of specialists scientists, such as psychologists, etc. In this section there will be a special registration.
The department of Infrastructure that will monitor the construction process and coordinate the work of local contractors. Some Engineer divisions and the competent unit of the Air Force will provide their help. The department will house offices, accommodation space, etc. to meet the needs of workers.
The department of feeding, to which 10 mobile kitchens of the Armed Forces will be made available and has the necessary and in accordance with the provisions of EU Directive rations to refugees. The price of food for all meals amounts to 5.72 euros. For the first month the supply shall be made by specific certified companies, while more additional staff of the Armed Forces will be in standby. P. Kammenos assured that we will do everything to preserve the living standards on the issue of feeding the refugees.
The police will be responsible for the division of registration and certification. Also, 600 fully equipped tents with a capacity of 10 people each have already been distributed, while 100 more refugee recording machinery are expected.
Kammenos also said there will be cooperation with certified NGOs for the content of their actions, as well as with the municipality and the prefect regarding sanitary issues, the functioning of local health centers, etc.
The Defence minister described the agreement between the EU and Turkey as a very good development and expressed the willingness of Greece to help the Turkish coast guard and Frontex by providing information on the departure of ships with refugees, so that their movement be terminated in Asia Minor coast and operations conducted within the Turkish territorial waters.
Kammenos also proposed to stop the free movement of refugees from North Africa to Turkey because this facilitates traffickers.
He noted however that in the meetings of EU and NATO Defence ministers the Greek side had asked for the Defence ministries to join in the effort to address the refugee crisis, as it felt that it exceeds the capabilities of the Public Order and Internal Affairs ministries and touches security and defence issues. “Not everyone had agreed at the time”, said the minister who noted that the issue would be raised again at the forthcoming meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Amsterdam on Friday.
As regards the cost of assistance from the Armed Forces, Kammenos said it would not burden the budget of the ministry. The financial cost, he said, lies with the managing authority. Currently allocated EUR 2 mln have been made available by the ministry of Finance and there are EUR 32 mln at the Bank of Greece.
Kammenos reiterated that it hasn’t been and there won’t be an issue of joint patrols between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean. He also considered that the presence of the Armed Forces will act as a deterrent to those who wish to carry immigrants.
The coordination of actions, the minister said, will have the central unified migration management body in an area of the National Operations Centre, under Major General Konstantinos Floros, in which all bodies will take part. Kammenos stressed that responsible for immigration policy is the ministry of Immigration.
The Defence ministry will also inform the correspondents of the foreign Press, while there will also be continuous update on the works on all seven centers.