The Greek government has evacuated the Idomeni camp, a dirty and makeshift settlement of migrants and refugees along the Macedonia border, but the tenacity of those who seek a Balkan path to Europe remains the same. The hope of crossing the closed border has only pushed them a few kilometers back, in the Kilkis region near the urban center of Polikastro, where at least 2,500 people have found shelter in spontaneous camps, in addition to the other three known ones, Hotel Hara, BP and Eko Station.
These are the holdouts after the government transferred 6,000 people last week from Idomeni to new camps in the industrial area around Thessaloniki. These refugees and migrants have no intention to move to the official sites, especially after hearing about poor living conditions there. Faced with this new situation, the Greek media talk of a new Idomeni, but really there is little similarity. It is rather a posthumous scenario, more fragmented and with a different composition, with a visible majority of people from Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly men, who travel alone or in groups.
Among them there is Nomi, who twice tried unsuccessfully to cross the border through the mountains. He will try again, he assures me while waiting in line for the breakfast that volunteers continue to offer every morning at the Hotel Hara. His compatriate Kumran is also adamant. “I lived in Madrid until 2007,” he says in good Spanish. “I went home when my father died, but in the meantime my residence permit had expired and I was no longer able to return. Now I’m trapped here for three months.”