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UN refugee agency presses Greece on ’squalid’ migrant camps

ATHENS, Greece — The United Nations refugee agency is pressing Greece to improve conditions at the crowded island camps where thousands of migrants are held as part of a European Union deal with Turkey.

The U.N. agency said Friday that conditions in the camps, where nearly 20,000 people live, are “squalid, inadequate and rapidly deteriorating.”

UNHCR also urged the Greek government to move more migrants from the eastern Aegean Sea islands to mainland Greece.

Tens of thousands of migrants illegally enter Greece every year from Turkey, hoping to move on to more prosperous European countries.

Under the EU-Turkey deal reached in 2016, they are supposed to be kept on the islands and returned eventually to Turkey.

But in practice, most apply for asylum in Greece.