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September 18, 2019
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‘I’m tired’: Head of overcrowded migrant camp in Lesvos resigns

The governor of the overcrowded reception and identification center in Moria, Lesvos, resigned on Wednesday saying he is “tired,” state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported.

Yiannis Balbakakis, who run the overcrowded camp for about three years, is credited with creating “safe zones” to protect unaccompanied underage refugees, women and single-parent families.

“I leave with my head held high for doing what I had to in difficult circumstances. I do not leave as a thief, nor do I leave as a protesting politician. I leave because I have to leave. I’m tired,” he was quoted as telling ANA-MPA, adding that he submitted his resignation to the Citizen Protection Ministry.

The camp, which is a disused military base, has been repeatedly criticized by humanitarian organizations for its squalid living conditions.

The facility has been housing more than 10,000 people, nearly four times its maximum capacity.

In a bid to ease the pressure and improve living conditions at the camp, authorities in early September moved about 1,400 refugees and migrants to facilities on the mainland.

The relocation of migrants from island camps is one of a series of emergency measures decided on by a government council over the weekend following the arrival of more than 500 people last Thursday – the largest number in one day since the peak of the refugee crisis in 2016.

In addition to relocations from the islands, the authorities are to bolster border controls and policing on the islands and the mainland.

A deal struck between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 to stem migrant flows restricted newly arrived migrants to the Greek islands unless their asylum applications were successful. 

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