Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall are making life even harder for thousands of refugees living in limbo across Europe. The cold snap gripping Europe has left dozens of people dead, including refugees in Bulgaria, according to Agence France-Presse. Snow blanketed the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, home to more than 4,000 people.
More than 7,500 people are currently stranded in Serbia, living in overcrowded camps and informal settlements. Serbia has agreed with the European Union to host up to 6,000 people, of whom only 3,140 live in facilities adapted to winter. In Belgrade, about 2,000 young people, mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria, are currently sleeping in abandoned buildings in the city center, while temperatures plummet far below freezing.
The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said, calling again on the authorities to improve conditions for people suffering in below-freezing temperatures.
“Today, people are severely lacking appropriate assistance and this is putting their lives in danger,” said Stefano Argenziano, MSF operations coordinator on migration. “We are witnessing the most cruel and inhumane consequences of European policies, which are being used to deter and victimize those who are only seeking safety and protection in Europe.”
Over the last year, European authorities have sought to stop people from seeking protection in Europe as they flee active war zones, including through an agreement between the European Union and Turkey and the official closure of the Balkan route for migrants and refugees.
[CNN / MSF]