Greece + 13 more

Winter Operations Cell (Updated March 2, 2016 1:02 PM)

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Planning and Preparedness: On 2 March, the European Commission will propose plans for the use of humanitarian aid within the European Union. This will include emergency plans for Greece and countries in the Western Balkans. The Greek Alternate Migration Minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, noted that 450 million euros are needed to support refugees who temporarily require accommodation in Greece.

Arrivals and Departures: The Eidomeni border crossing between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was closed for almost 24 hours. The border crossing finally reopened late in the evening of 1 March. Hundreds of tents were set up in the fields around the Greek side of the border. According to UNHCR, there are over 9,000 people currently present in Eidomeni. According to media, authorities from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reinforced security at the border with Greece with 700 additional police officers.

The number of people present on the Greek islands remains high (5,749). Authorities took measures to reduce the number of ferries transporting refugees and migrants from the islands to the mainland with the aim of reducing pressure on already congested temporary accommodation facilities.

Condition of People: In Greece, a passenger ferry docked at Piraeus port will be used as temporary accommodation for refugees and migrants reaching Athens. The Ministry of Shipping has contacted other companies to make additional ferries available for this purpose.

During an interview with Greek media, UNHCR spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, stated that the border restrictions along the Western Balkans route are “not consistent with the spirit of unity and European values” and that “what Greece is faced with is not fair”.