Migrants in Greece continue to suffer from harsh winter

Thousands of migrants stranded in Greece have been suffering in freezing temperatures. Local authorities have failed to prepare emergency measures and migrants have limited access to overcrowded facilities in camps.

Most migrants have been living in simple tents in the freezing rain as they wait for authorities to process their asylum claims, MSF said on Monday. This situation has created numerous health risks, the medical aid group said in Geneva. Temperatures in the northern city of Thessaloniki have dropped to minus 12 degrees Celsius (10 F) at night over the past few days.

A snow front has gripped a large part of the country since last week. Meteorologists warn weather conditions will further worsen until Monday with temperatures dropping to minus 20 degrees Celsius in some regions in northern Greece.

Despite the harsh weather conditions, Greek authorities have recorded a dramatic increase in border crossings from Evros lately and thousands of migrants are still waiting to cross the boundary.

Giorgos Kyritsis, spokesman for the government’s crisis committee on migration, told Greece’s Skai television that just under 1,000 people were housed in tents on the eastern Aegean islands.

MSF said that more than 7,500 migrants were currently stranded in overcrowded camps or informal shelters in Europe with identical partial resources.

The European Commission said on Monday that conditions for refugees on Greek islands and in other camps where they were housed in tents despite severe cold weather were “untenable.”

Migrants in Belgrade, Serbia took shelter in a warehouse near a rail station, rejecting government-provided shelters for fear they may be sent back to their countries.