Winter has arrived with a vengeance in Athens, sharpened with the addition of some unusual snowfalls, but this year it is harder than ever for Greeks struggling with austerity-enhanced poverty.
Local authorities across the country are mobilising to deal with the cold snap, forecast to last until at least Thursday, and are bringing aid to thousands of people.
“The number of these people has increased. I would not say it is at the point of a full humanitarian disaster, but without a doubt the situation is much more severe than before,” says the director for homeless projects for Athens George Apostolopoulos.
Last year several people died and the economic crisis means some 20,000 people are now homeless in Greece, about half of them in the capital. This is a 25 to 30% increase on two years ago, with 60% of the homeless attributing their plight to financial problems.