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Afghan migrants stranded under appalling conditions in Athens park

Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 01:44

Hundreds of Afghans, including children, who made the perilous journey from their war-torn country, are stranded in a central Athens park. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Air conditioning is out of the question for hundreds of Afghan migrants now stranded in a park in central Athens. But they say it's better than being back home: (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAEEM, 25-YEAR-OLD MIGRANT FROM PANJSHIR VALLEY, SAYING: "Everyday there's suicide attack in Afghanistan, in the north, and in the south of Afghanistan there's a lot of problem." So many left, and eventually reached Greek shores... their first step into the EU. But cash-strapped Greece doesn't have an official camp for these migrants to stay in… not since the leftist-led coalition closed its crowded, and much scrutinized, migrant detention centers. So the Afghans depend on NGOs for water, food and medicine. But the people who run these charities, like Nikitas Kanakis, say this scenario just isn't sustainable. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIKITAS KANAKIS, PRESIDENT OF DOCTORS OF THE WORLD GREECE, SAYING: "We need a campus because more and more people are coming so they cannot live like this in the center of the city. It's not good for them, it's not safe for them, and it's not good for the city." Conditions are appalling. The migrants have to bathe with a garden hose. The stagnant water and human waste attracts mosquitoes, and some of the children who walk barefoot in the park are covered in insect bites. But they don't have many other options. Kanakis says Europe needs to step up and help: (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIKITAS KANAKIS, PRESIDENT OF DOCTORS OF THE WORLD GREECE, SAYING: "Otherwise, the situation will become worse and worse and we will see in the middle of Athens pictures that the humanitarian doctors have seen back in the east or back in Africa." The number of migrant arrivals to Greece quadrupled over the first six months of 2015. And their presence is putting more pressure on an already burdened Greek economy.

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Afghan migrants stranded under appalling conditions in Athens park

Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 01:44