'Saddening' scenes as refugees gather at Greek port

Thousands of refugees and migrants are resisting calls to leave Piraeus for special camps elsewhere in Greece

'Saddening' scenes as refugees gather at Greek port

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least 5,000 refugees and migrants are enduring hard conditions at the biggest port of Greece, Piraeus, near the capital city of Athens.

People are staying in tents pitched close to nearby roads or in the port’s passenger terminals, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.

Many refugees and migrants at the port are not accepting Greek officials' suggestions of moving to camps elsewhere in the country, fearing that they will not be allowed to leave and would be prevented from moving to other European states.

Only 72 refugees had agreed to go to Katsika camp in Ioannina in northwestern Greece on Friday and just under 300 refugees and migrants left the port on Thursday.

Living with help from volunteers and NGOs, the refugees and migrants are undergoing medical examinations by the Red Cross.

However, despite hygiene warnings, some refugees and migrants have been seen cleaning themselves in the sea.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Melissa Fleming said on Friday that the scenes at Piraeus and Idomeni, near the Macedonian border, are "saddening".

Greek officials recently said that more than 52,000 refugees and migrants are in the country, including at least 5,000 refugees in Piraeus and 11,000 in Idomeni.

The Greek government has said that camps with a capacity for 30,000 people will be built shortly.

Just over 52,000 refugees and migrants remain on Greek territory as of Friday, while 339 new arrivals were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the latest count by the Greek Interior Ministry.

Next Friday, the Greek parliament will vote on draft legislation submitted Thursday, which will pave the way for implementation of a recent EU-Turkey agreement on the migration crisis.

According to the agreement, migrants and refugees will be sent to Turkey from where the EU will resettle asylum seekers.

Last Mod: 03 Nisan 2016, 09:06
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