Governor asks Greece to declare state of emergency over border crossing

IDOMENI, Greece -- A regional governor called on the Greek government Saturday to declare a state of emergency for the area surrounding the Idomeni border crossing where thousands of migrants are stranded due to border restrictions along the route toward western Europe.

See Full Article

Some 13,000-14,000 people are trapped in Idomeni, while another 6,000-7,000 are being housed in refugee camps around the region, said Apostolos Tzitzikostas, governor of the Greek region of Central Macedonia. That means the area handles about 60 per cent of the total number of migrants in the country.

"It's a huge humanitarian crisis. I have asked the government to declare the area in a state of emergency," Tzitzikostas said during a visit to Idomeni to distribute aid to the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations. "This cannot continue for much longer."

The neighbouring former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia has stopped all but a trickle of Iraqi and Syrian refugees from crossing, following similar restrictions by countries further north on the migration route. The moves have caused a massive bottleneck in Greece, whose islands' proximity to the Turkish coast has made it the preferred entry point for refugees and other migrants seeking better lives in Europe.

Greek authorities said only about 180 people crossed the border between 6 a.m. Friday and the same time Saturday morning.

"The former Yugoslav republic needs to open immediately to borders and the European Union needs to implement severe action against the countries that are closing borders today, whether they are members of the European Union or candidate members," Tzitzikostas said. "This is unacceptable what they are doing."

The governor said the region needed the emergency measures -- or alternatively for the law to be amended -- so that regional authorities can obtain the necessary emergency supplies and food to support the refugees and improve their living conditions. He also called on the government to provide a comprehensive plan on how to handle the migration crisis.

The refugee camp at Idomeni has a capacity of about 2,000 and has dramatically overflowed, with new arrivals daily setting up small tents along the railway tracks next to the camp and spilling out into surrounding fields.

Hundreds of men, women and children arrive each day, walking more than 15 kilometres (about 10 miles) from a nearby gas station where an impromptu camp has been set up. Greek authorities have been trying to discourage more people from arriving due to the bottleneck, but many prefer to wait at the border than in other refugee camps set up nearby, in the hope of getting into the massive queue waiting to cross.

The European Union and Turkey will hold a summit on Monday to discuss the refugee crisis which has severely strained relations among EU countries.

"We are expecting Turkey to start finally doing what it should be doing for months now and we also expect our European partners to start receiving refugees in their countries," the governor said. "There needs to be a proportional distribution between the countries."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Small quakes continue to shake Italy

    World News CTV News
    MILAN -- A series of small temblors have continued to shake a mountainous region of central Italy, further unsettling thousands of residents displaced by a pair of powerful aftershocks to the deadly August quake. Italy's national volcanology center said two smaller quakes registered magnitudes above 4 before dawn Thursday, centered near Macerata in the Marche region, while dozens of smaller ones were recorded in the area overnight. Source
  • Chinese sailor attempting record missing in Pacific near Hawaii

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a Chinese man attempting to set a sailing record after a crew did not find him aboard his boat off the Hawaii islands. In a statement Wednesday night, the Coast Guard said a crew from the USS Makin Island went aboard Guo Chuan's trimaran about 620 miles northwest of Oahu and only found Guo's life jacket. Source
  • Police veto plans to reopen Australian theme park 3 days after deaths

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - The Australian theme park where four people died on a river rapids ride has defended its safety record as police vetoed plans to reopen its doors to the public three days after the tragedy. Source
  • Japan, U.S. and South Korea agree to step up pressure on North Korea

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - Senior officials from Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed Thursday to step up pressure on North Korea as they stick to their goal of persuading the communist state to abandon its nuclear weapons. Source
  • Local sheriff's office getting impatient with Dakota Access protesters

    World News CBC News
    Protesters trying to stop construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline were bracing for a confrontation with police Thursday after the demonstrators refused to leave private land in the pipeline's path. A months-long dispute over the four-state, $3.8 billion US pipeline reached a crisis point when some 200 protesters set up camp on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. Source
  • Search continues for man wanted in Oklahoma 'rage killings'

    World News CTV News
    OKLAHOMA CITY - The search for an Oklahoma man wanted in a cross-state string of killings, shootings and carjackings is entering its fourth day, and authorities say they have no idea where the suspect may be. Source
  • Early voting shows Clinton ahead: AP-GfK poll

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton appears on the cusp of a potentially commanding victory over Donald Trump, fueled by solid Democratic turnout in early voting, massive operational advantages and increasing enthusiasm among her supporters. A new Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday finds the Democratic nominee has grabbed significant advantages over her Republican rival with just 12 days left before Election Day. Source
  • Uncle of Japanese emperor dies at age 100

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - The younger brother of former Japanese Emperor Hirohito died Thursday at the age of 100. The Imperial Household Agency announced that Prince Mikasa had died in the morning at a hospital in Tokyo. Source
  • Don Atchison loses bid for 5th term as Saskatoon mayor

    Canada News CBC News
    Don Atchison's 13-year run as mayor has ended after he was defeated by former city Coun. Charlie Clark, who became the unofficial mayor-elect in Wednesday's election. The unofficial results were Charlie Clark with 41 per cent of vote, Don Atchison with 37 per cent, Kelley Moore with 22 per cent, and Devon Hein with one per cent of the vote. Source
  • Oilers continue torrid start with win over Capitals

    Canada News CBC News
    ?The Edmonton Oilers aren't used to this type of start to a season. Benoit Pouliot had a pair of goals as the Oilers stretched their winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Source