Refugee babies exposed to filth, infections at Greek border camp

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
19 PHOTOS
Babies, children at Greek refugee camps at Idomeni
See Gallery
Refugee babies exposed to filth, infections at Greek border camp
A child peers out from a tent during rainfall at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Despair and confusion spread through the camp at the Greek-Macedonian border as thousands of stranded refugees were forced to acknowledge that the route through Europe that had carried their hopes and dreams was now shut. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A woman and her child sit in a tent at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 9, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade. The Balkan trail from Greece to northern Europe used by floods of migrants was blocked after a string of nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure on the EU and Turkey to nail down a 'game-changing' grand bargain. / AFP / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and his child sit on train track on March 9, 2016, at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by a Balkan border blockade. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. More than 14,000 mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camping out by the northern Idomeni border crossing with Macedonia -- many of them for weeks -- at a muddy, unhygienic camp operated by beleaguered aid groups. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Migrant woman tries to keep warm near fire at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Greek police officials say Macedonian authorities have imposed further restrictions on refugees trying to cross the border, saying only those from cities they consider to be at war can enter. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
A boy walks in a puddle on March 9, 2016, at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by a Balkan border blockade. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. More than 14,000 mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camping out by the northern Idomeni border crossing with Macedonia -- many of them for weeks -- at a muddy, unhygienic camp operated by beleaguered aid groups. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds up an infant next to a young man waving a German flag as people protest at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked on March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a child covered in a blanket while waiting in line for food during rainfall at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Despair and confusion spread through the camp at the Greek-Macedonian border as thousands of stranded refugees were forced to acknowledge that the route through Europe that had carried their hopes and dreams was now shut. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A boy stands in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The Balkan trail from Greece to northern Europe used by floods of migrants was blocked on March 9 after a string of nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure on the EU and Turkey to nail down a 'game-changing' grand bargain. / AFP / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Childrens walk in the rain on March 9, 2016, at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by a Balkan border blockade. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. More than 14,000 mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camping out by the northern Idomeni border crossing with Macedonia -- many of them for weeks -- at a muddy, unhygienic camp operated by beleaguered aid groups. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrant child rides a scooter at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Greek police officials say Macedonian authorities have imposed further restrictions on refugees trying to cross the border, saying only those from cities they consider to be at war can enter. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
A young boy gestures as people wait in line to receive food near tents set up at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked on March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Children shout slogans during a protest at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked on March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman and her children sit in a tent on March 9, 2016, at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by a Balkan border blockade. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. More than 14,000 mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camping out by the northern Idomeni border crossing with Macedonia -- many of them for weeks -- at a muddy, unhygienic camp operated by beleaguered aid groups. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrant boy plays in a puddle at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Up to 14,000 people are stranded on the outskirts of the village of Idomeni, with more than 36,000 in total across Greece, as EU leaders who held a summit with Turkey on Monday said they hoped they had reached the outlines of a possible deal with Ankara to return thousands of migrants to Turkey. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
TOPSHOT - A woman carries her child in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The Balkan trail from Greece to northern Europe used by floods of migrants was blocked on March 9 after a string of nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure on the EU and Turkey to nail down a 'game-changing' grand bargain. / AFP / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Children walk in a puddle of rainwater near tents set up at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkan border blockade, on March 9, 2016. The main migrant trail from Greece to northern Europe was blocked on March 9 after western Balkan nations slammed shut their borders, hiking pressure for an EU-Turkey deal and exacerbating a dire situation on the Macedonian border. / AFP / SAKIS MITROLIDIS (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Migrant children cross railway tracks under a freight train during rainfall at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Despair and confusion spread through the camp at the Greek-Macedonian border as thousands of stranded refugees were forced to acknowledge that the route through Europe that had carried their hopes and dreams was now shut. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A migrant child takes shelter from the rain at the Greek border camp near Idomeni, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Despair and confusion spread through the camp at the Greek-Macedonian border as thousands of stranded refugees were forced to acknowledge that the route through Europe that had carried their hopes and dreams was now shut. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

IDOMENI, Greece, March 9 - Six-day-old Asima lies on her back a few meters away from a line of public toilets used by crowds of refugees and migrants stranded at a muddy border outpost in northern Greece.

She is one of the youngest of thousands of children trapped in what aid workers say is a petri dish of filth and festering infections, as European leaders work out what to do with the growing masses fleeing conflict zones and heading to Europe.

SEE ALSO: Migrants surviving in Italy by harvesting oranges

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says there are at least 40 pregnant women in Idomeni camp on the Macedonian border, and 40 percent of its population are children.

"There are many babies at the camp, and they are vulnerable to respiratory infections," said Christian Reynders, deputy coordinator for MSF at Idomeni.

"Refugees set fires at night to keep their families warm. They burn everything, wood, plastic bags, old clothes. The smoke is toxic and we are afraid that respiratory infection especially for newborn babies might create permanent problems to their breathing system," he added.

MSF doctors see about 60 children a day suffering from the results of the humidity and smoke, he said.

By the latest count, there were about 36,000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece on Wednesday, their plans to travel further north blocked by border shutdowns throughout the Balkans.

Asima's Syrian mother gave birth in the town of Kilkis, about 40 km (25 miles) away from the camp which has sprouted up in muddy meadows.

But she then promptly returned, waiting with at least 13,000 others to cross a frontier which now appears permanently shut.

A nurse from the 'Arsis' charity changes Asima's nappy, saying she knows of at least five infants stuck in squalid conditions.

"I few minutes ago we had a three-month-old baby in who only weighed three kilos," the nurse said, less than half the usual weight for that age.

"A few days after giving birth their parents bring them back to the camp. They are afraid of losing their place to cross the borders. Many are malnourished."

Sarala, in her early twenties, has been living there for 19 days, in a tiny tent covered in mud. She fled Idlib in Syria with her daughter, then 15 days old. She crossed into Greece about a month ago and wants to go to Germany.

The baby is wearing a pink babygrow also spattered with mud.

"I'll stay at the camp until Macedonia open the borders," she told Reuters. She wouldn't contemplate leaving for better conditions elsewhere. "I was one of the first to arrive at Idomeni. I don't want to lose an opportunity to pass."

More on AOL.com:
Life under ISIS: Girls as young as 8 are being repeatedly raped by fighters and beaten when they resist
Amazing colorized photos show a unique side of World War II
Shocking gas prices from around the world reveal just how bad things are for the oil industries

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners