03:29 GMT +326 April 2019
Listen Live
    A migrant walks after receiving food during snowfall at the Moria hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, on January 9, 2017.

    'Untenable' and 'Dire' Winter Conditions for Refugees Still Stuck in Greece

    © AFP 2019 / STR
    Europe
    Get short URL
    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (161)
    176

    Snow falls on the migrant camps in Greece, where canvas tents buckle under the conditions described as "untenable" by European Commission (EC) spokesperson, Natasha Bertaud. Footage has emerged from the island of Lesbos, showing migrants living in harsh winter weather conditions without any heat.

    On the island of Samos, people are burning wood to keep warm whilst still sleeping in tents overnight.

    ​Conditions equally harsh and equally as shocking are reported on social media from camps elsewhere in Greece, including the islands of Thessaloniki and Chios.

    ​Despite Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas reportedly stating that no refugees or migrants were living in the cold.

    And as the number of migrants at reception centers soars above capacity, the blame is laid on Greece, not the wider European Union community for not properly processing the refugees and providing adequate conditions for them to live in.

    ​However a succinct EU refugee policy is yet to be agreed among member states, with many countries steadfastly refusing to take in significant numbers of refugees.

    ​As temperatures in Hungary and Serbia plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius at night, 2,000 asylum seekers and migrants are still sleeping rough in Belgrade.

    According to reports from Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Serbian government banned aid organizations from assisting refugees sleeping rough.

    ​Around 1,000 people are stuck in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade's railway station, without heating, toilets or showers.

    ​"They burn whatever scrap they find to keep warm, inhaling poisonous fumes," Lydia Gall, HRW researcher writes. 

    "The EU, its member countries and those who want to join it — like Serbia — have a duty to ensure humane treatment for asylum seekers or migrants. Winterized accommodations are essential."

    Snow is gathered under a broken bicycle and a bed frame next to a tent at a refugee camp in Ritsona, northern of Athens
    © REUTERS / REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
    Snow is gathered under a broken bicycle and a bed frame next to a tent at a refugee camp in Ritsona, northern of Athens

    Austrian defense minister Hans Peter Doskozil has accused Brussels of being detached from reality in its handling of the refugee crisis. Brussels has also been accused of outsourcing the refugee crisis by striking a deal with Turkey, where Ankara takes back migrants from Greece and the EU resettles Syrian refugees from Turkey.

    According to the EC, Greece has been told to improve the situation for refugees and asylum seekers who remain stranded on its islands this winter.

    Topic:
    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (161)

    Related:

    Migrants Suffer From Frosts in Greece, Balkans Due to EU 'Cynical Neglect' - MSF
    Greece Winterizes Most Refugee Centers
    November Asylum Applications in Greece Exceeds 2015 Monthly Average by 600%
    Tags:
    bad conditions, migrant crisis, conditions, refugee camp, winter, migrants, snow, EU-Turkey migrant deal, Human Rights Watch, Hans Peter Doskozil, Natasha Bertaud, Samos, Chios Island, Lesbos, Hungary, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Thessaloniki, Belgrade, Serbia, Brussels, Greece
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik