The resettlement of refugees

After the autumn of 1922, the sudden rise in the number of refugees and the desperate - albeit piecemeal - attempt to settle them paralyzed the rhythms of social life in the big urban centres. Refugees from Eastern Thrace were added to those from Asia Minor, aggravating even more the problems of housing and relief. There was an urgent need to restructure the country, but the infrastructure and the local resources for productive jobs were lacking. The 'Trial of the Six' contributed to a partial calming of the social upheaval. The absence of a material/technical infrastructure and economic difficulties led initially to the establishment of a Fund for the Relief of Refugees and then to the Refugee Settlement Commission (EAP September 1923). The latter was a formally independent supra-national organization, functioning under the immediate supervision of the League of Nations in conjunction with the Greek government, and its aim was to manage the debt contracted to cover such needs.
The Greek state, local agents and various international organizations were mobilized to house the refugees in a way unprecedented in the history of Greece. However, this major initiative was not without social consequences. In the case of the capital, the integration of land into the fabric of the city without prior infrastructure and spaces for common use, created intractable problems. It is indicative that in the period 1920-28, the population of Greater Athens doubled, showing an average annual rate of increase of 7.4%, unique in the history of the city. With the signing of the peace treaty, and gradual demobilization, the internal problems of the country came into focus.