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

  • Norway's king hospitalized with infection

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI - Norway's royal palace says King Harald has been hospitalized with an infection and remains in satisfactory condition with improving health. The royal palace said in a short statement Sunday that the 80-year-old monarch is being treated at an Oslo hospital where he was taken Friday but didn't disclose further details. Source
  • Violent evictions, homelessness are the cost of Lagos, Nigeria's megacity

    World News CBC News
    "I was born and brought up in Otodo Gbame community," says 31-year-old Julius Oladele, sitting with his feet burning on the hot sand strewn with broken glass, bamboo and corrugated iron sheets. "They came in November 2016. Source
  • Police question Israeli leader over corruption accusations

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Police have arrived at the official residence of Israel's prime minister in what is believed to be part of an investigation into corruption allegations. Police have previously questioned Benjamin Netanyahu over allegations that he received gifts from Hollywood and business figures. Source
  • 1 dead after training exercise at CFB Shilo

    Canada News CTV News
    One person is dead following a training exercise at CFB Shilo, a spokesperson for the Canadian Forces tells CTV News. "Family notification is still ongoing. We will not release any further information until that has been properly ?completed," Lori Truscott said in an emailed statement. Source
  • Key players in Zimbabwe's political crisis

    World News CBC News
    A lot has happened in the past few days in Zimbabwe, where the world's oldest head of state tries to remain in power even under military house arrest. Thousands of giddy Zimbabweans have poured in the streets to demand his departure, tired of a collapsing economy that once was one of Africa's strongest. Source
  • Canadians win team relay silver at luge World Cup

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada earned a medal in the first team relay event of the season at the luge World Cup in Innsbruck, Austria, on Sunday. Alex Gough, Mitchel Malyk, Tristan Walker, and Justin Snith combined to finish 0.358 seconds behind the German sleds. Source
  • Three suspicious fires in Vancouver suburb set within 90 minutes: police

    Canada News CTV News
    A trio of suspicious fires in a Vancouver suburb is raising concerns that an arsonist may be on the loose. Police said the fires happened in the span of an hour-and-a-half early Saturday morning in Delta, B.C. Source
  • Person dies during armed forces training exercise in Manitoba

    Canada News CBC News
    A person has died during a training exercise at an army base in Manitoba. The person was killed at CFB Shilo, about 205 kilometres west of Winnipeg, on Saturday, a spokesperson for the base confirmed to CBC News. Source
  • Satellite signals give hope in search for missing Argentine submarine

    World News CBC News
    A search and rescue operation for an Argentine navy submarine missing in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members aboard reached its third day on Sunday, after failed satellite calls likely from the vessel raised hopes the crew are alive. Source
  • Secret Service apprehends attempted White House fence jumper

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Secret Service says an individual has been taken into custody after attempting to jump a security barrier on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House. President Donald Trump was inside the White House during the Sunday morning incident. Source