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Desperation in Idomeni - false information spreads about new route to western Europe

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By Sarah Chappell  with AP, Reuters
Desperation in Idomeni - false information spreads about new route to western Europe

<p>Where to next? Many refugees and migrants at the sprawling makeshift camp in the Greek border town of Idomeni are at a loss as to what to do now.</p> <p>The Greek government has told them that the Macedonian border will not re-open, and is urging them to take the buses being provided to transport them to official reception centres elsewhere in Greece.</p> <p>But on Monday, the camp is buzzing with rumours of another option. Leaflets are circulating that suggest a route to northern Europe through Albania.</p> <p>“We want to know who posted these leaflets, so we can decide what to do. If it’s not a credible source, how can we move?” says Abdelrahman, from Mosul, Iraq.</p> <p>“It’s like we’re drowning. We’re living in an open prison, and we don’t know how to get out.”</p> <p>The UN refugee agency is trying to inform camp residents that they should not believe the misleading leaflets.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You can close borders, but you will not be able to destroy their hope on a better future. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Idomeni?src=hash">#Idomeni</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/refugeesGr?src=hash">#refugeesGr</a> <a href="https://t.co/qeWqeTAM3W">pic.twitter.com/qeWqeTAM3W</a></p>— Erik Marquardt (@ErikMarquardt) <a href="https://twitter.com/ErikMarquardt/status/714437038808797184">March 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>There are many people who would rather stay in Idomeni than risk the unknown.</p> <p>Since the buses started arriving on Friday to take the refugees and migrants to the reception centres, fewer than 1,000 people have boarded them – a small fraction of the estimated 11,500 camp residents.</p> <p>Inas, a refugee from Syria, says she went to one of the reception centres elsewhere in Greece, but made the decision to return to Idomeni. </p> <p>“It was a military camp, we were surrounded by army officials. You can’t move freely and if you want to leave you need paperwork and other complications. It was really bad there.”</p> <p>Refugees and migrants have been staging daily protests at Idomeni demanding that the Macedonian border be reopened.</p>