Tue | May 30, 2017

Fear, hunger, rain: Migrants battle the elements in Greece

Published:Friday | September 11, 2015 | 9:00 AM


As if fear, hunger, thirst, worry and exhaustion were not enough to endure, new trials emerged yesterday for those on the 1,000 mile-plus trek into Europe: torrential rains and thick mud.

About 7,000 refugees and migrants, including many families lugging young children, braved relentless downpours yesterday to cross Greece's northern border into Macedonia in what Greek police said was the largest single wave they had seen so far.

At the northern village of Idomeni, crowds gathered before dawn, using anything they could find, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, hooded jackets, even a beach umbrella, in a futile attempt to stay dry. Sneakers stuck in the mud. Rain dripped off hoods and caps. All were soaked to the skin.

Parents held their children aloft in the rain, to make sure the Macedonian police would see them and let them through checkpoints. Other mud-splattered children dragged luggage and stumbled into rain-filled potholes, climbing out crying.

By early afternoon, all had crossed but thousands more were on their way, heading to the Greek mainland in ferries.