UN concerned about Greece refugee situation

United Nations, July 25 (IANS) The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that it was extremely concerned about the situation in Greece, which has been hosting more than 100,000 refugees this year, said a spokesperson at a daily news briefing.

“The country is experiencing real hardship, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate. The agency said that in some situations, local volunteers and tourists were doing more for refugees than the Greek authorities,” said Eri Kaneko, UN associate spokesperson, on Friday.

Greece, in spite of all its difficulties, needs to assume full responsibility for the refugee population, of whom only 5 percent stay in the country, with the majority moving across the Balkans to Germany and Nordic countries, said Kaneko, Xinhua reported.

The agency hoped that Europe would take robust action to support Greece.

UNHCR is assisting Greek authorities on the ground, providing water, hygiene kits, and interpreters.

Some 60 percent of those arriving in Greece are Syrians coming from Turkey. Other refugees included Afghans, Iraqis and sub-Saharan Africans, said the agency spokesperson, William Spindler.

Greece has been mired in a debt crisis since 2008. It started to veer toward bankruptcy in 2010 and received two international bailouts, most of which had been used to pay off Greece’s debt instead of boosting the economy.

The country’s economy has shrunk by a quarter in five years, and the unemployment is above 25 percent.


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