As European governments move to seal their external borders, tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe are trapped in Greece, leading to a rapidly escalating humanitarian catastrophe. Each day hundreds of refugees risk the dangerous journey from their war-torn countries in the Middle East via Turkey and the Mediterranean to Greece. Most of them are trying to get to Western Europe via the Balkan route. In late February, the Macedonian government closed its border to Greece for the transit of refugees. Since then, the number of refugees in Greece has risen to over 30,000. According to the Greek state television ERT, last Thursday there were some 25,000 refugees on the Greek mainland and nearly 7,000 on the Aegean islands.
Thousands of exhausted people face desperate conditions at the border, in the hope they may soon be able to continue their journey north. Idomeni in the Kilkis region has been transformed from a tiny village of 154 inhabitants into a giant refugee camp. Meanwhile, over 13,000 people are camping in a field near the border fence and the railway tracks. Every day, hundreds more refugees arrive from other regions of Greece.
News station ERT has broadcast shocking images of the conditions faced by the refugees. Families from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries have been living for almost two weeks in temporarily shelters. Nearly half are women and children