Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconNews
line break icon

Extreme weather threatening refugees' lives in Greece, humanitarian groups say

European Comission - CC

John Burger - published on 01/10/17

Did the winter catch the country by surprise, or did authorities fail to prepare in time?

Unusual winter weather in Greece is threatening the lives of refugees there, humanitarian agencies are warning.

Parts of the country have seen more than 3 feet of snow and temperatures as low as 0°F over the weekend, The Independent reported. Communication lines and roads are disabled on several islands.

In Moria, a large camp on the island of Lesbos, around 15,000 people are still living in overcrowded conditions in thin summer tents. At least one Afghan man died in the cold conditions last week, Greek media reported, as the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) rushed to distribute thermal blankets and heating fuel and install electric heaters and insulation.

Host families have taken in about 21,000 people determined to be most at risk from the weather, but rights groups are calling on the Greek government to act quickly to reduce overcrowding by moving the most vulnerable people on Greece’s islands to the mainland.

Families have also taken in about 700 unaccompanied child refugees.

In his 2017 Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis spoke much about children who become refugees and must travel without adults. “I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenseless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves,” the pope wrote.

Greek authorities have been criticized for not preparing properly for the life-threatening winter weather. “Europe should stop making the lives of migrants and refugees more miserable,” a statement from Medicins Sans Frontieres read.

In December, the EU, aid groups and the Greek authorities were accused of bungling the handling of €90 million worth of jointly-managed funding which was supposed to be set aside for “winterizing” camps before the first snows fell last month.
Tags:
GreeceRefugees
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.