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Reporting from the Macedonian border, Alexandra Krause of the The UN Refugee Agency warns of the dire humanitarian situation facing thousands of refugees stranded crossing from Greece to Macedonia

Story Transcript

DAVID DOUGHERTY, TRNN: Macedonian police use tear gas and stun grenades to push back migrants and refugees at its border with Greece on Friday, August 21st. Video shows the chaos unfolding at the border. The Mediterranean region is in the midst of what the EU has described as the gravest refugee crisis since World War II. Every day, at least one thousand refugees from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, many of them Syrian nationals fleeing conflict at home, have been arriving to Greece, a country itself gripped by its worst economic crisis in generations. 39,000 migrants were registered entering Macedonia over the past month, more than double the rate registered in previous months. On Thursday Macedonia declared a state of emergency and mobilized special forces to curb the influx. The actions by the Macedonian government have been condemned by rights groups. Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy Director Gauri van Gulik said: “The Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution.” The Real News reached Alexandra Krause of the The UN Refugee Agency who was on the ground at the site of the border crossing migrant crisis. ALEXANDRA KRAUSE, UN REFUGEE AGENCY: So there were quite chaotic scenes in the afternoon, people starting to push from behind towards the barriers which were erected by the army. The army would not let people through, so with the heat you can imagine, and with a lot of people pushing, the scenes were quite chaotic with people crying and shouting. So of course the UNCHR is very concerned that refugees are not receiving or have not received the assistance and humanitarian assistance they require, because for some time we couldn’t get through to the refugees. We now managed to distribute at least water and food, and we had organized a Red Cross medical team who are working two shifts in order to attend to the most critical cases. DOUGHERTY: At least several hundred refugees were reported to have successfully crossed into Macedonia following the crackdown, and international rights groups called on the country to establish a system in order to receive and process the influx of arrivals.


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