Pope Francis Says Greece ‘Extremely Generous’ on Migrant Crisis

Pope visiting refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos in 2016

Pope Francis has congratulated Italy and Greece for their efforts in dealing with the migrant crisis that is sweeping Europe.

“We have a wave of refugees fleeing wars and hunger, war and hunger in so many countries of Africa, wars and persecution in the Middle East,” he said in comments reported by AFP on Thursday, congratulating in particular Italy and Greece which had been “extremely generous” in their welcome.

The Pope had visited the Greek island of Lesvos in 2016 where thousands of refugees were crossing from the shores of Turkey.

The number of refugees, asylum seekers and people with no citizenship in Greece totaled 58,000 in early June, according to figures released by the Greek chapter of the UNHCR on Wednesday, World Refugee Day.

Out of the 58,000 hosted in Greece, 16,000 are in northern Greece and Thessaly. Of these 16,000, 67 percent are in Central Macedonia, 15 percent in Thessaly, 13 percent in Epirus and five percent in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.