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Refugee Crisis Row: Regional governor urges Greek government to declare a state of emergency

Refugee Crisis Row: Regional governor urges Greek government to declare a state of emergency
Iraqi refugees, mostly fleeing the northern city of Mosul, now held by the Islamic State (IS) group, stand at a new camp on the outskirts of the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, near the border with Turkey, on February 2, 2016. The Islamic State group overran large areas north and west of the Iraqi Baghdad in 2014, and Iraqi forces are battling to push the jihadists back. / AFP / DELIL SOULEIMAN

Thousands of refugees are stranded due to border restrictions along the route towards Western Europe, regional governor has called on the Greek government to declare a state of emergency for the refugees surrounding the Idomeni border.

According to Apostolos Tzitzikostas, governor of the Greek region of Central Macedonia. “About 13,000-14,000 people are trapped in Idomeni, while another 6,000-7,000 are being housed in refugee camps around the region,”

During a visit to Idomeni on Saturday to distribute aid to the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations, Tzitzikostas said “It’s a huge humanitarian crisis. I have asked the government to declare the area in a state of emergency”.

“This cannot continue for much longer.”, he added.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Idomeni, said: “Once it is in place – and that will not be before Monday , it would mean that there is a release of emergency funds, first 200,000 euros, to help out in this camp, provide more tents, food, blankets and facilities. There is no running water here.”

The Greek coastguard reported “Up to 1,000 more refugees arrived on Saturday in the Greek port of Piraeus from the Aegean islands of Lesbos and Chios”.

Greek authorities reported that only about 180 people crossed the border between 6am on Friday and the same time on Saturday morning.

“The former Yugoslav republic needs to open immediately to borders and the European Union needs to implement severe action against the countries that are closing borders today, whether they are members of the European Union or candidate members,” Tzitzikostas said.

“This is unacceptable what they are doing.”

“We are expecting Turkey to start finally doing what it should be doing for months now and we also expect our European partners to start receiving refugees in their countries,” Tzitzikostas said.

“There needs to be a proportional distribution between the countries.”