Migrants Dying of Cold: UN Urges EU to Do More

Written by | Monday, January 16th, 2017

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said last week that the European governments must do more to help protect migrants and refugees from cold and harsh winter. UNHCR reported that there have been five known cases of death from cold including two Iraqi men and a Somali woman found dead close to the Turkish border in Bulgaria. There was also a young Pakistani man who was found dead along the same border in late December and a young Afghan man found dead after he had crossed the Evros River on the Greek-Turkish border at night in -20 degrees Celsius.
Around 1,000 people including many children are living in unheated tents and dormitories on the Greek island of Samos. Hundreds of others have recently been transported to better conditions on the islands of Chios and Lesbos. In Serbia, it is estimated that about 1,200 refugees are exposed to winter while about 7,300 are staying in heated shelters provided by the Serbian government. Referring to the migration flows across the Mediterranean, Joel Millman, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), commented these had “started out in a big way” in 2017 and the total death toll for the first two weeks of this year stood already at 27.
Meanwhile, UNHCR spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly commented that “given the harsh winter conditions, we are particularly concerned by reports that authorities in all countries along the Western Balkans route continue to push back refugees and migrants from inside their territory to neighboring countries”. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF added that children were particularly prone to respiratory illnesses and that the dire situation is especially in Greece.

Article Categories:
Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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