UNHCR flags concerns over refugee sites in northern Greece
On 27 May, the UN refugee agency said it was “seriously concerned” over what it termed sub-standard conditions at several sites in northern Greece where refugees and migrants were evacuated this week from the makeshift site at Idomeni. “We urge the Greek authorities, with the financial support provided by the European Union, to find better alternatives quickly,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva. She stressed that UNHCR agreed that the makeshift site at Idomeni on the Greek border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where refugees had been staying in abysmal conditions, needed to be evacuated, and noted that this had been completed without the use of force.
Thousands of Iraqis seek refuge from Mosul fighting in war-torn Syria
The UN refugee agency said on 27 May that the past month had seen a spike in numbers of Iraqi refugees risking the dangerous crossing into Syria in a desperate bid to escape ISIL-held Mosul, the pending battle to retake it, and fighting in surrounding areas. Briefing the media in Geneva, the UNHCR spokesperson said that since the beginning of May, a total of 4,266 refugees have arrived at the Al-Hol camp located 14 kilometres from the Iraqi border in Syria’s north-eastern Hasakah Governorate. In anticipation of further arrivals in the coming weeks, the first of five UNHCR airlifts of emergency items such as tents and blankets arrived from Jordan to Qamishli in the far north of Hasakah Governorate on 26 May. The total amount of aid arriving will be enough to provide support for up to 50,000 people, including refugees and the immediate host community.