AS EU LEADERS were meeting in Bratislava last week, European People’s Party (EPP) local government members met in northern Greece to discuss how the EU should respond to the increasingly disturbing migration crisis.

Part of this conference included a visit to the Diavata Refugee Relocation Camp, outside Thessaloniki, where there was a first-hand opportunity to see the some of the conditions migrants arriving in the European Union are facing, and to hear their concerns.

Renovated at the request of the Greek Ministry of the Interior, Diavata is a former military barracks that is being used to accommodate migrants who have arrived on some of Greece’s many islands. It opened its doors on 24 February this year and is now home to about 1,000 men, women and children, mostly from Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On arrival at the camp, we were met by Major George Moyfidis, who is the army commander in charge of the camp. He gave a briefing on the recent history of Diavata and the difficulties it faces in meeting the needs of its residents.

The difficulties facing the residents

The camp comprises approximately 200 shelters and is intended to cater primarily for families, so there are roughly as many women as men, but almost half the residents are children. There are also about 30 unaccompanied minors living in Diavata – young people who have tragically lost their parents in one way or another on their perilous journey to Europe …

Article by Barry Ward for

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