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Idomeni Camp: Greece-Macedonia Border

October 23, 2023

Idomeni Camp was a large, unofficial, camp settlement on the Greek- Macedonia Border, where since 2014, displaced people from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries of the Middle East, have crowded into, in order to cross the Greek borders and enter the Republic of North Macedonia. 

As the Syrian Refugee Crisis escalated in 2015 and large numbers of people arrived in Greece via boat from Turkey, Idomeni became a hotspot for displaced people as they tried to reach Western European countries such as Germany and Sweden, seeking safety and a better life. 

Towards the end of 2015, the Republic of North Macedonia decided to guard and close its borders with military forces in order to prevent people from entering the country. Thus, the transit camp at Idomeni where no more than 6000 people were passing through each day, rapidly became a longer-term camp. At its peak the number of people seeking asylum in Europe who stayed in Idomeni numbered more than 15,000. 

People were living in tents, makeshift huts, abandoned train compartments, with some people completely without any form of shelter. There was a lack of all basic necessities as people waited on the rail tracks hoping for a way through Greece. The situation was precarious with regular tensions, riots and violence between the residents and authorities.

On the 24th of May 2016, Greek authorities began relocating people from the Idomeni camp to processing facilities mostly in and around Thessaloniki. People were moved to military camps and therefore the Idomeni Camp closed. 

RBB were able to volunteer at Idomeni in 2016 until its closure supporting the provisions of food from a volunteer led bus kitchen as well as providing other urgent aid independently such as summer clothing for women and children, baby products, hygiene products and shelter items. As people were moved on to military camps such as Oraikastro and Softex, RBB also accompanied moving our support.  

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