Refugees Could Freeze to Death In Brutal Winter
Life is even harder and more miserable for thousands of refugees across Europe as plummeting temperatures and heavy snow hit the region.
The freezing temperatures have already claimed the lives of dozens of refugees.
Life is most miserable for those living in outdoor tents with no winter clothes to wear.
This worsening situation experienced by asylum seekers has drawn international concern including from the United Nations and humanitarian organizations.
In particular, the situation in Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, home to more than 4,000 people, has caught the attention of the public and triggered a response from the international community. To respond to this call of emergency, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) transferred some 120 vulnerable men, women and children, including people still living in tents, to hotels after the storm.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards called for immediate action to address the needs of the refugees amid heavy snow that slammed Europe.
Edwards said in a news conference Friday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, “The UN Refugee Agency is today reiterating its call to accelerate the moving of asylum seekers from the Aegean islands to the Greek mainland. The need for better protection will become all the more acute this weekend when temperatures on the islands are expected to drop. We are worried.”
Refugees in Danger of Deadly Cold
As heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures swept the European continent, the lives of refugees are put in danger.
In Germany, the federal police discovered 19 asylum seekers including five children suffering from hypothermia after they were abandoned at a highway stop in Bavaria in -4°F (-20°C) weather on Sunday.
A report in Yahoo news says at least 10 people have died in the cold that gripped Poland in recent days.
Snow blanketed several Greek islands as temperatures plummeted to below-freezing, resulting in tentative closure of roads cross large swathes of northern Greece. In addition, refugees in some areas of Greece are suffering from the toll of heavy snow.
Iverna McGowan, director of Amnesty International’s European Institution’s Office, said in a statement, “Asylum-seekers on the Greek islands face overcrowding, freezing temperatures, lack of hot water, violence and hate-motivated attacks.”