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Greek travellers faced major disruption to road and sea transport on Monday after strong winds and heavy snowfall that have made conditions even more miserable in the country’s migrant camps.
Over the past few days the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR, has sent radiators to the camps around the country where tens of thousands of asylum seekers have been struggling with the cold and hail.
Along with northern Greece where sub-zero temperatures are common at this time of year, snow blanketed Athens’ northern and eastern suburbs Monday, with traffic on the main motorway to northern hub Thessaloniki cut off for several hours.
Greece’s civil protection agency warned of “continuing dangerous weather conditions” as strong winds battered the coast, forcing a halt to ferry services connecting Athens with Greece’s Aegean islands.
Some villages on the island of Evia near Athens were facing power cuts as well as blocked roads.
Greece’s weather agency said the “low temperatures, ice and snowfall” would continue on Tuesday, with the civil protection agency recommending that people avoid travel.
On the island of Lesbos, where more than 6,000 asylum seekers are currently living, “no one is in danger in the camp,” insisted asylum service secretary Manos Logothetis.
“We are working every day to improve the conditions in the camps on the islands,” he told local media.
Lesbos’ squalid Moria migrant camp was ravaged by two fires in September.
It has since been replaced by a hastily-erected temporary encampment in an area prone to flooding and strong winds.
Aid groups have denounced the poor conditions and the lack of infrastructure on the site, while media outlets have complained that they are banned from entering.
© 2021 AFP
Greek travel chaos after heavy snowfall (2021, February 15)
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