Omar cannot understand the way Europe plays with the lives of thousands of refugees that are stuck in Greece. “They should have told us a month before if they don’t want us. They should have told us to stay in Syria, to live or die there. They should have directly told us that Europe doesn’t care about our lives!”
Some meters away Taysir, another refugee from Aleppo, is trying to find a place to put up a small tent for him and his family. “If you don’t let us pass the borders, please let our children pass. Take our children! In Greece they have no future!” he says desperately.
According to UNHCR 34% of the refugees that come with boats from Turkey to Greece are children. Among the 14.000 refugees in Idomeni it is estimated that 7,000 are children. They have to sleep in tents, in the cold and humidity. There is no sufficient sanitary infrastructure. The transit camp of Idomeni was aimed to host in short term up to 2,000 people. In the camp you can see small children walking barefoot in mud which is full of sewage water. Their faces and bodies are marked by strains. “We have newborn babies here. They have respiratory problems due to toxic smoke of burning plastic. Hundreds of people try to warm their families by burning anything they find. “We have to give them oxygen masks or transport them to the hospital,” says a member of an international health organization.Chaos is everywhere. A donation and volunteer run social kitchen is cooking thousands of meals daily. Still many remain hungry. Many refugees remain also without shelter. Activists and NGOs appeal for donations of tents and support in human power for the social kitchen and elsewhere in the camp. Activists, volunteers and professionals alike work day and night. In the last days there were many appeals either for food or tents for refugees who have no shelter in the overcrowded camp.
Late at night a big truck is stopping at the entrance of the camp. It’s bringing a very big amount of fire wood – a donation from greek and foreign activists and helpers. Refugees are jumping on the truck and carrying away pieces of wood. It’s one of a few moments of happiness in Idomeni. A slight hope on a little bit of warmth among all the cold. The solidarity from the Greek population is huge. Through calls for solidarity activist from Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and other countries came to Idomeni and try to find ways of supporting the refugees directly of by either sending money or necessary materials such as tents.
On Sunday the Greek government announced the construction of another 15 new hot spots within the next days with a capacity of up to 17.400 persons in total. They government hopes that through the relocation program some refugees which are stuck in Greece will be resettled to other European countries.
It is late in the night and many people are sleeping while others sit around fires. The latest rumors are shared. Everyone is talking about the expected police raid. Within the next days, or within the next hours… everyone fears that police will forcible remove all refugees from the border and transfer them into Hot Spots and transit camps. On Monday evening a heavy rain and storm started in Idomeni. “This place is about to explode! It’s like sitting on a huge powder keg”, says an Afghan refugee.