NGOs ask for migrant camp to open again as cold sets in


As temperatures in northern Greece plunge below zero, a number of nongovernmental organizations have asked the government to reopen a camp for refugees and migrants at the village of Idomeni on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Doctors of the World, the Greek Council for Refugees, Praksis, Arsis and the International Autonomous Volunteers in Idomeni wrote an open letter to the government calling for the camp to reopen so that migrants are not forced to stay outside in the freezing weather.

The camp was put together by NGOs last August but was cleared by police on December 9 after Greece came under pressure from other European countries to stem the flow of migrants through its northern borders. The camp had the capacity to house up to 2,500 people.

“For the time being, the camp is empty and there is no explanation as to why it cannot be used,” said Antonis Rigas, a program coordinator for Doctors Without Borders.