At least 25,000 stranded in Greece as border reopens intermittently

THESSALONIKI, Greece -- Macedonia intermittently opened its border with Greece to a tiny trickle of Syrian and Iraqi refugees Wednesday, leaving about 10,000 more people camped on the Greek side, with more arriving daily.

See Full Article

The border bottleneck has left at least 25,000 people stranded in Greece, the first European country that migrants reach in smuggling boats from Turkey. As the prosperous but divided continent flails in search of a workable solution, individual countries led by Austria have imposed immigration caps that have caused a domino effect down the Balkan immigration corridor, which has been traversed by a million people over the past year.

Greek police say Macedonian police opened the Idomeni crossing three times Wednesday, each time for a few hours. They admitted a total of 240 people from Syria and Iraq -- the only nationalities allowed to continue north.

Hundreds, including many families with small children, arrive daily at Idomeni in northern Greece, where two official camps are so full that thousands have set up tents in fields all around.

Greece has asked for 480 million euros ($522 million) in emergency aid from the European Union to deal with the crisis.

EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said Wednesday he wants to swiftly push through a proposal to earmark 700 million euros ($760 million) in humanitarian aid to deal with the refugee crisis over the next three years. He said 300 million euros ($325 million) would be earmarked for this year and be used "where it is most needed," alluding to Greece and the nations along the Balkan trail.

Macedonia says it will only allow in as many refugees as Serbia, its northern neighbour, accepts each day.

Slovakia's prime minister, Robert Fico, visited the Macedonian side of the border Wednesday and stressed the importance of bilateral co-operation in addressing the migration crisis.

"We all believe that we need to adopt European solutions, but sometimes it seems to us that European solutions do not work," he said. "So, probably, also bilateral co-operation, co-operation among countries, countries like Macedonia, are very, very important."

A field official with the United Nations refugee agency on the Macedonian side of the crossing said authorities will soon send a train with about 500 people from the nearby town of Gevgelija to the Serbian border. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Jasmin Rexhepi, head of the aid group Legis, told The Associated Press that a group of about 50 Pakistanis remain trapped for a fourth day on the Macedonian side of the border between two razor-wire fences. He said Macedonian authorities are trying to send them back to Greece because the group crossed the border illegally.

Rexhepi also said that about 1,000 refugees -- 750 Afghans and 250 Iraqis -- are stuck at Macedonia's border with Serbia, which has refused them entry.

In Greece, arrivals by smuggling boats from Turkey on the eastern Aegean Sea islands continue at a rate of nearly 2,000 a day. More than 120,000 have landed so far this year, on top of 850,000 in 2015. A string of hastily thrown-up transit camps on the mainland has rapidly filled up, and hundreds are sleeping rough in a central Athens square.

Authorities have restricted the flow of migrants from the islands to Athens' port of Piraeus, where about 1,000 people still arrived by ferry by midday Wednesday.

Testorides reported from Skopje, Macedonia. Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Randal Dooley's father set to appear before parole board today

    Canada News CTV News
    A man convicted of killing his son in what's been called one of the worst cases of child abuse in Canadian history is expected to appear before the Parole Board of Canada today. The hearing for Edward (Tony) Dooley is to take place at the Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum- and medium-security facility in Gravenhurst, Ont. Source
  • Mount Everest climbers asked to tidy world's tallest peak

    World News Toronto Sun
    KATHMANDU, NEPAL - Mountaineering expedition organizers in Nepal are sending huge trash bags with climbers on Mount Everest during the spring climbing season to collect trash that then can be winched by helicopters back to the base camp. Source
  • Strike averted as Purolator and Teamsters reach tentative agreement

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Purolator says it has reached a tentative contract agreement with Teamsters Canada ahead of today’s strike deadline. The company says it is returning to normal operations and again accepting shipments after stopping them on Tuesday. Source
  • Iranians, engines of U.S. university research, wait in limbo

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- Hundreds of Iranian students already accepted into U.S. graduate programs may not be able to come next fall because of the uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban, potentially derailing research projects and leaving some science programs scrambling to find new students. Source
  • Timeline of events leading up to Brexit

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Here is a timeline of key events related to Britain's decision to leave the European Union: Jan. 23, 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron promises a referendum on Britain's membership to the EU if the Conservative party is elected in the next general election. Source
  • Latest on Brexit: U.K. must be left worse off after split, EU presidency says

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The Latest on Brexit (all times local): 11:05 a.m. The European Union presidency says it is "imperative" that Britain must be left with a worse option than membership once Brexit negotiations are over. Source
  • Latest on Brexit: PM May hopes for divorce deal in 2 years

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The latest on Brexit (all times local): 12:50 p.m. Britain's prime minister is offering a broad outline of her plans for the process of leaving the European Union, saying she hopes for a deal for Brexit in two years. Source
  • Turkey wants to talk extradition of cleric living in U.S. with Rex Tillerson

    World News CBC News
    Turkey will discuss Syria and the extradition of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for a failed coup last July, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visits Ankara this week, Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Source
  • Purolator back to business as usual, as agreement reached with union

    Canada News CBC News
    Purolator will be accepting packages again Wednesday after the company has reached a tentative agreement overnight with its largest union, averting a strike.Purolator stops accepting new parcelsThe agreement must still be ratified by Teamsters Canada, the union representing more than 8,000 members who work at Purolator. Source
  • Raqqa residents trapped by militants ahead of assault

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- As U.S.-backed forces bear down on the de facto capital of the Islamic State group, the militants have taken their strategy of hiding behind civilians further than ever before, effectively using the entire population of Raqqa as human shields. Source