Greece steps up efforts to move migrants to sheltered camps

Greece increased efforts on Saturday to move thousands of migrants near the border with Macedonia to sheltered camps, as the spread of infection became a concern with two people in a sprawling tent city diagnosed with Hepatitis A.Stranded in filthy conditions at a muddy tent city near the northern border town of Idomeni, at least 12,000 people, among them thousands of children, were waiting to cross the frontier although Macedonia and other nations along the so-called Western Balkan route have closed their borders.Scuffles broke out at the camp in recent days as destitute people scrambled for food and firewood, while many have been sleeping in the open, often in the rain amid low temperatures.Greek authorities handed out leaflets in Idomeni on Saturday informing people that the main route to northern Europe was shut.The pamphlets urged them to move to buildings and hospitality centres across Greece that have been set aside for the purpose, according to a government official from the country's refugee crisis management coordination body."Our aim is not only to relieve Idomeni from the people, our aim is that no Idomeni (camp) even exists anymore. There are structures, why should people stay in the mud?" he said.Leaflets would also be distributed in ports and on islands to discourage people from going up to Idomeni, the government official said."Greece will offer you accommodation, food and healthcare," read the leaflets which were written in Arabic, Farsi and Pashtun.Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas, in charge of coordinating Greek efforts to tackle the refugee crisis, said 400 people were moved from Idomeni to camps on Friday and the numbers would increase in the coming days.

source : the new nation

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