People in Idomeni were repairing their tents and constructions for shade today, which the very strong wind tore apart yesterday.
However, the people in Diavata had nothing to repair. Their tents with all their belongings inside burned down completely. Moving Europe visited Diavata today and spoke with several people from the camp, while the army was setting up the exact same white UNHCR-tents on the spot. The fire apparently started from a fire lit in order to cook. Due to the strong wind and the fact that the UNHCR-tents are set up very near to each other without sufficient space between them, the fire consumed dozens of tents in just a few minutes. Today, only burnt metal sticks and other burnt belongings such as a totally burnt wheelchair were visible. It was sheer luck that nobody got severely injured yesterday. But many people lost everything: clothes, smartphones with their contacts, passports and all their money. The fire took everything they had. It is hard to understand, why thousands of people on the move are put in to this insufficient shelter in Europe.
Other sad news reached us today in Idomeni: The man who was hit by a police car in Idomeni on the 18.04.2016 died due to his injuries today.
On the 18th of November 2015, Slovenia closed its borders for refugees who are not from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Just a little later, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia also adopted this practice of segregation. There is little doubt about that this policy was pushed by the European Union as a starting point for slowing down or even stopping the flow over the Balkan route. Thousands of refugees were stuck in Eidomeni, Greece, and started to protest. The Moving Europe Bus was on the spot and reported live from the 22nd of November to the 11th of December 2015 – when the camp had been evicted. On the 5th of February 2016, we decided to restart our live-ticker as the new year has already seen several attempts from the European Union to slow down the migration movement towards Europe. Macedonia seems to become a key player in this strategy. For several weeks the Macedonian border authorities have slowed down the transit process. The predictable effect of this, given the high arrival numbers to the Greek islands, is that thousands are becoming stuck in Greece. On the 3th of February the Macedonian government announced its plans to strengthen border controls which will further reduce the speed of the transit process. In the meantime, the Greek authorities have established a new buffer zone near to Eidomeni. Since the camp at the border has already become highly overcrowded, there are fears that the violent scenes of last December in Eidomeni will be repeated. Therefore the authorities have decided that people should be kept at bay, at a gas station on the highway that is 20 km far away from the border (at Polykastro). For weeks migrants have had to stay there for hours under miserable conditions. Since the end of January the situation at the Greek border zone has escalated once more. There is only a trickle of people being let through to Macedonia and now people at the gas station have to wait for days before their buses finally leave towards the border. On the 3rd of February 2016 thousands of them decided not to wait any longer at the petrol station and started to walk towards the Macedonian border (#marchofhope 2). Further protests and tensions are to be expected. The Moving Europe Bus is on the spot since the 2nd of February and reports live from Polykastro and Eidomeni.