Greece: Extreme Weather Conditions Cause Suffering for Migrants in Border Police Stations
The constant arrival of migrants in Greece’s Evros region, coupled with the extreme weather conditions of the past few weeks, has put pressure on the already fragile system for receiving migrants in the border police stations of Soufli, Tychero, and Feres, and in the detention center of Filakio.
“The newly arrived migrants were spending up to a day in waiting areas in freezing temperatures,” says Antonio Virgilio, head of mission for Doctors Without Borders operations in Greece.
“Migrants have already suffered harsh conditions on their journeys to cross the border,” he added. “Once in Greece, they had to wait for hours, without warm clothes to protect them from the extreme cold, and sometimes without receiving a medical check-up from Ministry of Health doctors.”
There is no heating in the waiting areas of the three Evros border police stations, and migrants are not provided with extra clothes, sleeping bags, survival blankets, or other means of keeping warm. “The reception conditions are unacceptable,” says Virgilio.
An emergency team from MSF has been responding to the migrants’ immediate needs in the three border police stations and in Filakio detention center. The team is on call 24 hours a day, conducting medical triage and providing migrants with warm clothes, sleeping bags, survival blankets, and hygiene kits. During the first four days of intervention, the MSF team assisted 125 migrants, including women and children, who arrived shivering, exhausted, and complaining of pain in their legs.
Greece 2011 © MSF
A small Afghan child, one of the many newly arrived migrants in the Evros region, is detained in a border police station.