Refugees were still flowing into the Idomeni border camp in northern Greece Wednesday, despite the complete border closure by authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the last few days, while torrential rain has made conditions even worse.
“The situation is stifling as more people are arriving daily on foot,” the coordinator of the Hellenic Red Cross in northern Greece, Despina Filipidaki, told Kathimerini on Wednesday.
“The biggest problem is that the bad living conditions are worsening the health problems,” she added.
According to the latest estimates, more than 12,000 refugees are camped there in deplorable conditions while a further 3,050 are at Piraeus port, bringing the total number of migrants throughout Greece to 35,945.
Government sources told Kathimerini that the total cost of managing the crisis has risen to 278 million euros but that EU assistant funds are on the way.
Giorgos Kyritsis, spokesman for the Coordinating Body for the Management of Migration, reiterated Wednesday that the main priority is to eventually evacuate Idomeni and “transfer people to structures affording better living conditions.”
But, he said, it won’t be an easy task to convince the refugees. Nor will it be easy to overcome the reaction of locals in other areas where shelters are being erected.