MSF Treats Hundreds After Greek-FYROM Border Violence

Alex Yallop/MSF

Medical teams for the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treated hundreds of people today, April 10, following violence at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). At least 10 people have reported to MSF teams that they were beaten by FYROM police; around 40 people were injured by rubber bullets.  

Two extra mobile medical teams were added to the normal activities in Idomeni camp to assist the growing number of people in the camp. The situation was extremely tense this morning, when tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades were used in Idomeni camp to disperse crowds. The MSF teams treated 300 people, including roughly 200 people who were experiencing respiratory problems after being subjected to tear gas. 

An "Absurd Humanitarian Crisis Created by European States"

"Today, frustration and a growing feeling of anger are spread among the refugees who have been stranded in Idomeni for over one month," said Jose Hulsenbek, MSF’s head of mission in Greece. "What we see is the inevitable result of thousands being trapped in Greece, a country unable to respond to the humanitarian and protection needs of those in search of safety in Europe. What people need is to be treated with dignity, not violence or unpredictable border closures and more uncertainty. This absurd humanitarian crisis created by European states’ policies is becoming more unbearable by the day.” 

In just the MSF clinic inside the camp, around 30 children between 5 and 15 years old received medical care after being subjected to tear gas. Two young patients reported being taken into FYROM territory, together with 10 other people, where they were beaten for an hour by police. 

More than 30 patients received psychological care as they were in shock. Seven people with open wounds or suspected fractures were referred to a local hospital. 

“The MSF clinic has been full all day," said  Conor Kenny, MSF doctor in Idomeni. "Three children were brought in with head injuries due to rubber bullets. People outside were shouting and many of them were carrying rubber bullets in their hands. A pregnant woman from Syria came into the clinic with her two children; she told me she was close to the border when tear gas was used to disperse the crowd, people started to run and she fell down.” 

Media report from the transit camp at Idomeni, on the Greek - Macedonian (FYROM) border.
Alex Yallop/MSF