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In Photos: Inside Greece's Idomeni Camp, Where 13,000 Migrants Are Stuck in Purgatory

Thousands of people have been trapped in appalling conditions on Greece’s border with Macedonia since the the so-called Balkan Route to Western Europe was sealed off last week.

by Harriet Salem
Mar 12 2016, 3:10pm

Foto di Harriet Salem/VICE News

VICE News is closely watching the international migrant crisis. Check out the Open Water blog here.

An estimated 1.2 million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe since 2015, sparking a continent-wide crisis. The European Commission expects another 3 million to come by 2017.

In a bid to stymie the flow last week, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Serbia slammed shut their borders, effectively sealing off the so-called Balkan Route, a path that people fleeing conflict and poverty in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been using used to travel through Europe to Germany, France, and other favored destinations.

Related: Macedonia Will Only Take Syrian Refugees From Cities It Deems Sufficiently War-Torn

For those now trapped in Greece, the point of arrival for many arriving by boat from Turkey, the dream of heading west is quickly becoming a nightmare of worsening weather, muddy fields, and overcrowded refugee camps.

VICE News spent a week in Idomeni, a camp on the Greek border where more than 13,000 migrants and refugees are stuck waiting in appalling conditions, still hoping to cross into Macedonia and move on to Western Europe. 

Migrants wait next to the border fence at Idomeni hoping to pass from Greece to Macedonia. More than 14,000 people are currently camped out here hoping to reach western Europe. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Heavy rainfall over the last week has flooded parts of the camp, where many migrants stay in flimsy tents not designed for bad weather conditions. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

A migrant grabs at the wire fence on the Greek side of the border. The Macedonian authorities closed the border to migrants on Monday, effectively sealing the so-called "Balkan Route." (Photo by Pete Kiehart)

Migrants hold a protest in the center of the Idomeni camp chanting "Mama Merkel" and waving the German flag. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Riot police stand guard at Idomeni camp on the railway tracks leading up to the border. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Children sit inside their tent in a muddy field at Idomeni camp. Many of migrants staying here have only flimsy tents that are not meant for bad weather conditions. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

A migrant's foot caked in mud. Heavy rain at Idomeni has drenched many people's possessions leaving them without warm dry clothes. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Children wait in line for food parcels handed out at one of the camp's official distribution point. Lines snake back through the field and many wait more than three hours to receive a sandwich or soup. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

A child peers out a tent. Around 4,000 children are thought to be living in Idomeni camp, some for several weeks. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

A scrum of migrants forms around a van where food parcels are being distributed by a local volunteer. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Young men try to pull down a tree with a rope in Idomeni. Shortages of firewood have led many migrants to burn plastics and clothes creating a toxic smog over the camp at night. (Photo by Pete Kiehart)

A Yazidi woman from Iraq washes her face at Idomeni. With more the camp now holding more than seven times its capacity conditions are becoming increasingly unsanitary. (Photo by Pete Kiehart)

A young Iraqi girl cries. Sleeping in a crowded tent that houses more than a hundred people in one-person bunks she is sick with a respiratory infection. Children under the age of five account for one-third of referrals to Medicin Sans Frontieres in the camp. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Migrants try to grab food and diapers being thrown from the back of a truck by a local volunteer group. Human Rights Watch has said there is insufficient humanitarian aid in the camp. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Clothes hang to dry on the barbed wire of the border fence at Idomeni camp. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

A young man walks along the train tracks during a downpour at Idomeni camp. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

Women and children wait by the Macedonian border at Idomeni camp hoping to be some of the few allowed through. (Photo by Pete Kiehart)

A Syrian man sits outside his tent in the dawn fog at Idomeni camp. More rain is forecast in the next few days. (Photo by Harriet Salem/VICE News)

All photos by Harriet Salem and Pete Kiehart. Follow them on Twitter: @HarrietSalem and @Kiehart

Tagged:
Greece
refugees
migrants
Serbia
Macedonia
asylum seekers
migrant crisis
Balkan Route
Slovenia
Open Water
idomeni camp