While the UK debate whether to remain in the EU, some of the most vulnerable people are desperate to gain entry, and are willing to risk life and health to do so. Europe is "on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis" because of a rapid build-up of migrants on Greece's borders, the UN has warned.
"The crowded conditions are leading to shortages of food, shelter, water and sanitation," UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards said. "Tensions have been building, fuelling violence and playing into the hands of people smugglers," he added. Frustrations boiled over and scores of migrants clashed with security guards. Some attempted to smash through a fence, prompting the guards to fire tear gas and rubber bullets.
Close to 24,000 migrants in Greece are in need of housing. Some 8,500 of them are stuck in worsening conditions on the Greece-Macedonia border.
Caroline Haga, an emergency co-ordinator for the International Red Cross (ICRC), told the BBC.
"Many people here are soaking wet and cold from having to sleep out in the open, it still dips below 10 here during the night," she said. "We are already seeing a lot of flu cases, especially among children, so imagine if they have to sleep outside in the wet again. It could turn into a very serious health problem." A medical station set up by the ICRC and Hungarian Red Cross was struggling to provide care for the large number of unwell and the pregnant, Ms Haga said, including people suffering from respiratory illnesses including bronchitis.
The Guardian editorial explains “Europe is already guilty of causing the deaths of many migrants by giving them, in effect, no alternative except to risk their lives at sea or on the tracks leading into the Channel tunnel. That is bad enough, and a stain on the record, but to actually battle with migrants in this way is worse. Who can doubt that, if it continues, there will be deaths and injuries? Another kind of violence, in the shape of attacks on those who have reached a supposedly safe haven and are in hostels and centres in Germany and elsewhere, compounds the offence. Nothing has changed about Europe’s migration crisis, including the continued failure to find an answer to it, except that it is getting worse.”