December 02, 2016Print : World
ATHENS: Thousands of refugees and migrants will be relocated indoors from tent camps in Greece as temperatures fell below zero for the first time, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.
The operation began on Wednesday in the snow-covered foothills of Olympus, Greece´s tallest mountain, to move around 1,000 members of Iraq´s Yazidi minority, said UNHCR spokesman Roland Schoenbauer. "There has been some delay in preparations so now urgency is required," he told AFP.
The Yazidis, many of them children, were taken to local hotels and flats rented with UNHCR funds which are already sheltering some 18,500 people nationwide.
There are over 60,000 refugees and migrants trapped in Greece after EU and Balkan countries further north shut their borders nearly a year ago.
Most of them have applied for asylum to prevent their deportation back to Turkey and have spent months in the camps, where accommodation and sanitation is basic, especially on the islands bordering Turkey.