Cyprus Mail

Government to house migrants in rented building

Pournara reception centre

The cabinet on Wednesday approved renting a building to house undocumented migrants, as reception centres were full, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry said it was expected that the building would be ready to house a substantial number of undocumented migrants by Thursday.

The ministry said the arrival of migrants from Turkey continued, with their numbers exceeding the capabilities of the island’s reception centres.

In recent days, a large number of migrants have been sleeping rough outside the immigration office in Engomi, waiting to submit their asylum applications.

Mostly male third-country nationals but also some women and children have set up camp outside the building with their possessions, claiming the immigration office would not accept their applications immediately.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, asylum seekers were admitted to the Pournara migrant centre for three days before undergoing health tests and then being released.

Since the pandemic, a large number of migrants have not been released from the centre. This includes those who cannot give the authorities a specific address.

As the camp is overcrowded, some asylum seekers arriving on the island over the last week have been stranded on the streets. Most of them are men from Nigeria or Cameroon who arrived in Cyprus from Turkey through the north.

About 50 of them were moved to Pournara on Tuesday, while another 70 were taken to the camp late on Sunday.

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