The refugees from the camp on the Macedonian-Greek border who refused to leave and go to the other refugee centres near Thessaloniki have found shelter in empty buildings along the motorway.
Thousands of people have sent up their tents in abandoned petrol pumps in the surrounding area of Idomeni, just before the border crossing, Evzoni, in two abandoned buildings and the parking lot of the “Hara” Hotel in Evzoni.
According to official figures from the Greek Government, at the BP petrol pump at Evzoni, there are currently 1,433 refugees, and around the “Hara” Hotel, there are 1,425 refugees.
At the petrol pump near Polykastro where refugees used to wait for months to be transferred to the Idomeni camp, there are now approximately 1,900 refugees.
It is unknown how many refugees are hiding in derelict buildings and another petrol pump which are adjacent to Idomeni.
Well-known Chinese artist Ai Weiwei published photographs on his “Instagram” profile of refugees in their tents in abandoned buildings.
The Greek Government announced that their next course of action after emptying most of the Idomeni camp is to relocate the refugees who are camped out at the petrol pumps around Idomeni. This was announced by the Minister for Civil Protection, Nikos Ntoskas on Thursday, immediately after the police operation in Idomeni, and he also confirmed that the coordinator for dealing with the refugee crisis is Giorgos Kyritsis for newspaper “Kathimerini”.
“And the people who are in other informal caps will be relocated to the newly organised refugee centres”, Ntoskas emphasised.
On Tuesday, UNHCR expressed concern about the living conditions in the new refugee centres to the Greek Government and requested that they find alternative accommodation fast. This sparked quite a reaction from the Greek Government.
The coordinating body for dealing with the refugee crisis, recognised that there are shortcomings in the new refugee centres, but instead of criticism they expect UNHCR help improve living conditions.
As a reminder to those who have missed the recent developments, Greek authorities have officially relocated 3,700 refugees from Idomeni to new refugee centres around Thessaloniki. The operation to evacuate the Idomeni camp began on Tuesday with the removal of thousands of people to official refugee centres near Thessaloniki.
Before the police operation, it was estimated that there were 8,400 refugees at the Idomeni camp, which raises the question, where are the rest of the refugees?