Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Snow makes migrants' journey through Europe even harder
By Sophie MAKRIS, with Armend NIMANI in Presevo
Sentilj, Slovenia (AFP) Jan 7, 2016

It's the first time that Arman Butt, a Pakistani man desperately seeking to reach western Europe, sees snow.

But as the 30-year-old goes limp in the harsh chill, stuck at the Slovenian-Austrian border, he wishes it was not quite so cold.

He is one of some 50 men braving freezing temperatures and walking the short distance that separates the Austrian border post from Slovenia.

Butt is from Lahore, in the east of Pakistan. He has been on the move since September 20.

A few hours ago, he was pushed back into Slovenia by Austrian border guards. Wearing canvas shoes, his feet are frozen and he can barely walk.

Yet he is determined to keep trying until he makes it across.

Slovenian civil defence teams and army troops march alongside the migrants towards Austria's Spielfeld frontier post.

Every day, some 900 refugees and migrants who have braved freezing-cold temperatures arrive here on trains from Croatia, further south.

Most people reaching Europe's shores have fled wars, violence and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many others though, like Butt, are in search of a better life. They are facing major difficulties in getting across borders on the so-called Balkan migrant route to western Europe.

Another large group of men at the Slovenian border post of Sentilj -- mainly Moroccans and Algerians -- told AFP they have been pushed back from the Austrian frontier up to five times each in recent days, leaving them in a state of limbo between the two countries.

During the last week of December, Austrian police manning the border post of Carinthia said they had pushed back "several hundred" migrants suspected of having claimed a false nationality in a bid to get through.

The Slovenian interior ministry on Tuesday said Austria had pushed back 956 migrants since December 26.

"Most of them eventually went into Austria, after a new registration process and additional checks," the ministry said in a statement.

- 'Nothing can stop them' -

Several European states have introduced unprecedented border controls since the peak of the migrant crisis last year. EU powerhouse Germany -- the migrants' preferred destination -- and Austria tightened controls in mid-September.

Sweden, long seen as a haven for refugees, introduced temporary controls on Monday, triggering a knock-on effect and prompting Denmark to do the same on its frontier with Germany.

Butt said he left Pakistan in September because he was convinced that "Europe had opened up its borders".

"We can't go backwards, we have spent too much money to come here," he said, adding that he has already spent 7,000 euros ($7,500).

He has paid smugglers exorbitant sums to cross the Aegean Sea and then non-EU member Macedonia, which has made it especially hard since November for people not fleeing war zones to enter.

At a transit camp for migrants at Gevgelija near the Macedonian border with Greece, many people have fallen ill in recent days, "especially children", because of the low temperatures that have hit Europe and the Balkans since the start of the year, according to aid worker Lence Zdravkin.

"More and more people are arriving here without any money, unable to continue their journeys," Zdravkin said, adding that many had been left penniless by their smugglers.

People "arrive wet and with colds, with wet shoes... kids have fever and are coughing," said Jasmin Rexhepi, who works for a Macedonian NGO named Legis.

Further north in Serbia, where temperatures have reached -8 degrees Celsius, a bus system has been set up to help migrants on the move reach the transit camp in Presevo near the Macedonian border.

"However it does not stop refugees, who are still arriving with children, elderly and even disabled people," said Dafina Aliji, a local humanitarian activist.

"Nothing can stop them."

More than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015 in the worst crisis of its kind to face the continent since World War II.



Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Natural catastrophe losses total $90 bn in 2015: Munich Re
Frankfurt (AFP) Jan 4, 2016
Financial losses from natural catastrophes totalled $90 billion in 2015, the lowest level since 2009, German reinsurer Munich Re said on Monday. Natural disasters claimed 23,000 lives last year, substantially more than the previous year's figure of 7,700. However, the number of victims was still less than half the annual average for the last 30 years of 54,000, Munich Re said in a statement ... read more

Natural catastrophe losses total $90 bn in 2015: Munich Re

Obama set to hold town hall meeting on gun control

Bus passengers airlifted as Scotland bears floods brunt

Britain's floods: causes, costs and consequences

Chameleons deliver powerful tongue-lashing

Thor's hammer to crush materials at 1 million atmospheres

Coulomb blockade in organic conductors found, a world first

Adjustable adhesion power

Lake Erie Asian carp could hurt walleye; boost smallmouth bass

Humans adding less nitrogen to oceans than models predict

Deep-water ocean circulation may have awakened marine biodiversity climate change

Human activities trigger hypoxia in freshwaters around the globe

Antarctic sea ice melt released carbon from oceans as ice age ended

Antarctic clouds studied again after 50-year break

First ever digital geologic map of Alaska published

Climate change altering Greenland ice sheet and accelerating sea level rise

Over 160 killed in Madagascar cattle theft clashes: army

Restoring natural habitats across farms will boost CO2 sinks

Oregon standoff reflects decades-long fight on land rights

What a 'CERN' for agricultural science could look like

**WRONG SLUG**Greek dig reveals past glories of Europe's oldest city

Redirected flood waters lead to unintended consequences

Guatemala warily monitors erupting volcano

Nine dead as strong quake hits northeast India

Mali extends state of emergency until March 31

Mali pro-govt armed group accuses France of killing 4 fighters

Malawi suspends 63 civil servants over stolen US funds

Expanded use of yuan to help revive Zimbabwe's economy: Mugabe

Mental synthesis experiment could teach us more about our imagination

Why the real King Kong became extinct

Carnegie Mellon develops new method for analyzing synaptic density

Genomes of early Irish settlers sequenced

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.