Greece is stepping up emergency efforts to help the scores of migrants and refugees now trapped in the country.
Around three-thousand people have been moved to a new camp – run by the military – in Nea Kevala, around 25 kilometres from the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
There is hot water, toilets and medical help available at the site – a world away from the squalid conditions many have been enduring.
GREECE – A migrant woman reflects in a puddle in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border. By
dilkoff</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AFP?src=hash">#AFP</a> <a href="https://t.co/4uvvq1IgWy">pic.twitter.com/4uvvq1IgWy</a></p>— Frédérique Geffard (fgeffardAFP) 11 March 2016
Idomeni’s squalid conditions
The Macedonia border has become a bottleneck because of border closures blocking the migrant path out, the so-called Western Balkan route. Tens of thousands of people have been left stranded in Greece.
Athens is trying to move people out of a massive tented camp in the frontier town of Idomeni, where conditions are dire. Two people have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, stoking health concerns.
MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) 12 March 2016
Elderly couple open their home
Seventy-one-year-old Eleni Dimoni and her husband Christos, who is 83, live just a few metres away from the camp.
They have been doing all they can to help those who are hoping one day to head further north.
“A week ago, two girls came by with eight children. They said, ‘we’re hungry.’ I gave them something to eat. They told me they’d like to shower, so I let them in to take a shower,” explained Eleni Dimoni.
“Then a German man (journalist) came by, and then a girl comes and embraces me in thanks and I start to cry, and then my husband started to cry. It was moving.”
The couple have been overwhelmed, but say they will not turn people away.
Greece: the migrant magnet
Statistics released by Greece’s migration ministry on Saturday (12 March) estimated 12,000 people are now living in the sprawling tent city near the Dimoni home.
Greece has been the main entry point into Europe for more than a million migrants and refugees since last year.
More than 130,000 people are reported to have arrived this year alone, stretching the country’s limited resources.
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