Photos Of Idomeni Baby, Swarms Of Refugees On Macedonian Border Reminiscent Of Depression-Era Images [Gallery]

Images of Syrian refugees on Macedonian border at the Idomeni camp are reminiscent of 1930s photos of dustbowl farmers fleeing to California.

This past weekend, The Daily Mail reported on a mother named Sulaf who gave birth in the refugee camp in Idomeni, Greece, near the Macedonian border. Faced with no other option, she was forced to bathe her infant in puddle water.

There are thought to be close to 14,000 refugees on the Greek side of the Macedonian border near Idomeni who have been hoping to pass into the neighboring country. Al Jazeera describes the Idomeni camp as being on the brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

It is estimated that about 2,000 refugees arrive in Greece each day, and with borders to neighboring countries like Macedonia seemingly remaining closed, more and more people are left with fewer and fewer options. Despite the build-up of homeless along the border, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov insisted that the border was not closed.

“Our border is not closed,” the Macedonian president was quoted by Euro News. “What is closed is the illegal crossing where migrants used to cross in the past. Of course everyone who wants to be registered and is carrying with them valid documents can pass. Macedonia has been a host of refugees in the past. First the war in Bosnia, then the war in Kosovo, we had a 360,000 refugees in our country, so this is not our first time that we have sheltered refugees.”

Conditions at the Idomeni, Greece refugee camp are challenging.
The Syrian Civil War, which has been fiercely fought since 2011, has resulted in a large spike in the number of Syrian refugees. Before 2014, the United States had never accepted more than 100 refugees from Syria in any given year. Refugee cases spiked to 1,800 in 2015 with the escalation of the war, as reported by Venngage. Eugene Woo points out that a major argument of some against allowing refugees into the United States is that many appear to be young single males. In fact, data indicates that the number of single males granted refugee status is near 19 percent.

Perhaps eerily similar to handbills that were depicted as circulating among Dust Bowl farmers in the 1930s with promises of work and land in California, drawing many families to a brutal life in migrant camps located on the sides of highways, leaflets with similar promises have been reported to be circulating in Idomeni, Greece, according to the Daily Mail.

The leaflets were reported to have been published in Arabic and to have provided instructions to make a potentially dangerous river crossing, saying that buses would be waiting on the other side. A group of refugees who followed the instructions were quickly rounded up and returned to Idomeni. According to reports, a pregnant woman and two others drowned attempting to make the same crossing earlier in the day. Close to 2,000 people in total were thought to have attempted the river crossing as a result of the leaflet.

The Greek government estimates that a total of 42,000 refugees are currently stranded throughout the country. Dialog from Greece’s neighbors does not appear to indicate that borders will be loosening anytime soon.

“Between Sudan and Egypt alone, 20 million migrants who want to go to Europe are waiting,” Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov was quoted. “And what about Africa? The stream of refugees will not end.”

The refugee camp at Idomeni is reported to have originally been designed as a transit point and to house no more than a “few thousand” at one time. Overcrowding has resulted in a shortage of tents, blankets, and food. Only cold water is available for washing, no cooked food is available, and people must wait for hours to receive what little food is available. Sanitary conditions are described as being “sub-standard.”

Many cities and towns in Syria and northern Iraq lay in ruins after years of fighting, resulting in the refugee crisis at Idomeni on the Greek/Macedonian border.
[Photos by Matt Cardy/Getty Images – Three Lions/Getty Images]