“A humanitarian crisis brews in Greece”

Caroline Haga
Caroline Haga
Caroline Haga

Tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants are stuck in Greece. The Finnish Red Cross will send a specialist to support the international aid operation.

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The International Red Cross has announced they will expand their aid operation in Greece and requests that more healthcare personnel and aid workers come to Greece in order to help with the distribution of aid supplies.

The Finnish Red Cross will send a healthcare specialist to support the expansion of the operation. The Finnish Red Cross is also prepared to send healthcare units to Greece.

Hundreds of new people arrive at the Greek-Macedonian border every day. At the moment, more than half of the people arriving in Greece are women and children. The Idomeni refugee camp in Northern Greece is at the end of its capacity. Some of the people are forced to sleep outside in the rain and the cold, since there are not enough tents for everyone.

– Idomeni has a shortage of everything. There isn’t enough food and water for everyone. Many of the children are without shoes. The situation is alarming as it is, and more and more people keep coming here, says the Red Cross Emergency Communications Delegate, Caroline Haga, who is currently in Greece.

The number of people at the border is growing

The humanitarian situation in Greece has worsened since the Republic of Macedonia closed the Greek border. The Republic of Macedonia allows 200 people to cross the border in a day, while 2,000 people arrive in the Greek islands every day.

According to the estimates of the Hellenic Red Cross, approximately 20,000 people are stuck in Northern Greece, at the Macedonian border, and 10,000 people are stuck in Greece’s capital, Athens. Thousands of people are also held up in the port city of Piraeus and on the Greek islands.

The closing of the border has caused a series of bottlenecks in Greece. Before, people travelled through the Greek islands in only a few days. Now they may have to wait several days for the ferry to the next destination. Most of them are headed to the Northern Greek border.

– The number of people at the border is growing all the time. If the situation doesn’t change, there may be tens of thousands more people waiting at the border within a few weeks. There is a serious humanitarian crisis brewing there, says Andreas von Weissenberg, Head of International Disaster Aid of the Finnish Red Cross.

Food and drawing supplies for the children

Hellenic Red Cross workers and volunteers have offered first aid to the people arriving in Greece and assisted with distributing food, water, blankets, hygiene packages and baby supplies.

– In Idomeni, Red Cross workers and volunteers have gone to the tents to distribute food and supply coupons and to check up on people. There are many children here, so the volunteers have also distributed drawing supplies and played with the children, Caroline Haga says.

According to Haga, the atmosphere in the camp is hopeful, above all else. She was particularly impressed by a Syrian family who travelled with a 5-month-old baby boy and the husband’s old father. The family had first fled from Syria to Iraq four years ago, after which they were forced to leave their home for the second time.

The family had slept in a tent at the Greek border for two weeks. They said that it was difficult to sleep at night because they were afraid of the dark. Yet, they were hopeful.

– This is the life of a refugee. We can’t blame Europe, since everyone has their own problems. We can only wait and hope for the best, the father of the family had said.