Greek authorities closed down a makeshift migrants camp in Patras two weekends ago in an apparent strike against illegal immigration.

However the United Nations refugee agency has expressed its concern about the closure of the camp.

Around 100 police took part in the early morning operation in the camp, which levelled scores of cardboard and plastic hovels.

The only things left standing were the migrants’ makeshift mosque and a tent used by volunteer doctors.

A fire subsequently swept through the remains of the camp.

The camp was occupied by mainly Afghan migrants but it was mostly empty as many migrants had apparently been forewarned.

Forty four unaccompanied minors were found during the operation who were transferred to a special reception centre in Konitsa, northern Greece.

Another 20 to 25 registered asylum seekers were moved to accommodation in Patras, while an unknown number of undocumented camp residents were arrested and taken to Patras police station.

A large number of clandestine immigrants, mostly aged between 15 and 25, lived at the makeshift camp near the port for months at a time without proper water or hygiene facilities, hoping to sneak onto ferries bound for Italy.

The United Nations refugee agency says it is concerned about the fate of hundreds of irregular migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, following the closure of the makeshift camp.

The UNHCR says it fears many of the former inhabitants now are homeless.

“UNHCR has long maintained that the makeshift camp at Patras did not provide appropriate accommodation for the people sheltering there,” he said.

“However, UNHCR is concerned that no alternative has been provided for many of the people who had been living at the site.

We understand that many former residents, including registered asylum seekers, abandoned the site before the clearance operation.

Their whereabouts are unknown. It is feared that many are homeless,” the UNHCR spokesman, Ron Redmond said.

The UNHCR has frequently criticised the quality of Greece’s reception facilities for asylum seekers. For example, it says the lack of interpretation and legal aid services at the Patras police station limit the processing of asylum claims.

Redmond says the majority of asylum seekers in Greece are young Afghan males. Indeed, he says a significant number of the asylum seekers recently identified are minors.