Eventually the chairs and tables had to go, chopped for firewood as the temperature sank further below freezing. It was new year in northern Greece and inside Thessaloniki’s Softex refugee camp, the wooden furniture that refugees had assiduously made to provide some comfort was sacrificed to help them survive another night.
About 66,000 refugees are stranded in Greece, of whom an estimated 26,400 are children, mostly Syrian. No one knows what 2017 holds for these youngsters, where they will end up or what language they must learn. But as winter’s numbing cold is replaced by summer’s mosquitoes, they will probably remain in situ, trapped between worlds.
Last Friday, Labour peer Alf Dubs, who last year forced the UK government to accept more unaccompanied minors, arrived in Thessaloniki to visit the city’s emergency refugee camps and immediately felt despair. He saw babies crawling on frost-crusted paths, and families shivering in flimsy tents. One volunteer told him how 60 Syrian families had been found surviving in an apartment block beyond Thessaloniki airport. Their only support was cash cards to access state handouts. The nearest shop was an hour’s walk away.
Dubs, who was brought to Britain from Czechoslovakia in 1939 as part of the Kindertransport project, predicted during a visit to the Calais “Jungle” camp last August that the squalor he saw would induce nightmares.
Jan 22, 2020A Myanmar-appointed panel concluded on Monday (Jan 20) that some soldiers likely committed war crimes against its Rohingya Muslim community but the military was not guilty of genocide, findings swiftly condemned by rights groups. The “Independent Commission Of Enquiry (ICOE)” released the results of its probe just ahead of a ruling on Thursday by the […]
Mar 22, 2019
Mar 21, 2019