On the mainland, the design of the government’s plan to progressively close some accommodation facilities and reduce the number of refugees in others is ongoing, also thanks to the gradually expanding accommodation of asylum seekers in rented apartments and hotels through UNHCR’s Accommodation for Relocation project. At the same time, new sites are being established in the mainland. As Alternate Minister of Interior for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas announced on 23 August, new camps with more dignified conditions for refugees and migrants throughout the country should be completed by end December, also to decongest the overcrowded existing sites on the islands by progressively transferring asylum seekers to the mainland. A new site in Serres (former agricultural school) opened on 5 August in Northern Greece, to host 420 Yazidis transferred from Nea Kavala site. Authorities continue to report an increase in smugglers activities at the borders.
On the Aegean Islands, a slight increase in new arrivals was noted towards the end of August. A total of 3,437 people arrived in August compared to 1,920 arrivals in July. However, since April, only 12,282 refugees and migrants have crossed the sea to Greece, in comparison to 225,505 in the same period in 2015. In August, arrivals were recorded also in Karpathos (Southern Dodecanese) and Mykonos (Cyclades) islands, which have very rarely received arrivals in the past years.