Sep 26, 2019

Europe's biggest refugee camp overflows as migration surges again

Migrants with a child, helped by rescuers arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey

Migrants with a child arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Greece's 3rd-largest island, Lesbos, is overflowing with refugees as the "rate of arrivals hit the highest level since a European Union crackdown on migration three years ago," AP reports.

Why it matters: "Lesbos and other Greek islands facing Turkey’s mainland were used as a physical barrier to Europe’s mainland," per AP. The Moira refugee camp on Lesbos houses 12,000 people in a space meant for 3,000. Nearly 7,000 are stuck on the hillside outside the refugee camp as winter approaches — a dangerous place to be, as Lesbos is a "magnet for migrant traffickers," per AP.

The big picture: The recent uptick in refugees comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to allow more refugees to travel to Europe through Turkey if other nations don't provide financial support to house them, reports the New York Times.

  • Erdoğan also wants other countries to refrain from blocking his plans "to extend Turkish influence in northern Syria," where the Kurdish people live, per the Times.
  • Yes, but: Many Syrians have found it easier to settle in Turkey than to go elsewhere in Europe.

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on the global refugee crisis

Go deeper