Cold snap becomes dangerous for refugees in Greece

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Rubén Escobar
  • Refugee camp after heavy snowfall. Photo: Twitter
    Refugee camp after heavy snowfall. Photo: Twitter.
  • Cold snap has demolished refugee tents. Photo: Twitter
    Cold snap has demolished refugee tents. Photo: Twitter.
  • Refugee camp in Greece. Photo: Twitter
    Refugee camp in Greece. Photo: Twitter.

Harsh weather conditions make it unsustainable for hundreds of asylum seekers living in camps.  

Proactiva Open Arms has warned that heavy snow is leaving Lesbos isolated. In Moria, a large camp on the island of Lesbos, tents for refugees are flooded and covered under snow. Out in Vasiliki, pipes are frozen and temperatures have dramatically dropped to -15 degrees, meaning that families don’t have access to clean water and lights daily go out The terrible cold snap that is beating Europe has brought all these consequences making it unsustainable for hundreds of families living in camps.

The cooled air has mobilised non-profit organisations trying to help refugees. They denounce that this situation cannot be extended. Doctors Without Borders claims that in Greece there are thousands of people awaiting in overpopulated camps and fighting against under zero temperatures. “Greek authorities and the European Union must immediately concrete measures” said the organisation. The International Organisation for Migration recalls that over 15.000 people are unsatisfactory living and getting by in tents.

Humanitarian agencies have also criticised its lack of resources to support refugees, not even having essential materials to warm them up. The European Commission said in a statement on Monday that the Greek refugee situation is “first and foremost” the responsibility of the Greek authorities. However, Yannis Mouzalas, who is the Greek Minister of Migrations, ensures that the Government has adapted refugee camps so that nobody is getting cold at the moment.

Other countries are also affected

Last weekend over 30 people died in different European countries. Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania or Russia are also suffering low temperature consequences. In the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, two refugee frozen bodies were found in a wood. In Belgrade, thousands of refugees are still running away and facing low temperatures in their way up to the North. Also, over 2.000 young refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria are sleeping in abandoned building standing -20 degrees. In this sense, Doctors Without Borders has pointed that in Serbia there are 7.500 refugees stuck in the country. 

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