Hundreds of migrants seek shelter from winter in Greece

Earlier this month, hundreds of migrants camped outside a police station in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, waiting to be processed and be able to lodge an asylum application.

Many of the migrants, including women and children, had been sleeping rough in parks and squares in Thessaloniki for several days. With winter approaching, they wanted to secure a place in a migrant camp, rather than continue to live in informal settlements.

Greece is currently struggling to cope with a surge in the number of migrants crossing the land border from Turkey. Around 11,000 migrants have crossed the border this year, compared to 2,500 last year.

According to Associated Press, the police arrested 35 alleged human traffickers last month in Thessaloniki, accused of smuggling 1,821 migrants to the city.

The crossing by land between Turkey and Greece has become more popular as conditions in overcrowded migrant camps on the Greek islands are becoming increasingly squalid. Many migrants in the island camps suffer from depression, there is a high rate of suicide and women and children are at particular high risk of abuse.

Last month, during a visit to the Moria camp on Lesbos island, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International slammed the conditions in the camp, describing them as “appalling”.

TMP – 30/10/2018

Photo caption: Thessaloniki, Greece. A refugee boy wears a raincoat as he walks under heavy rain inside a refugee camp of near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.