Third of migrants arriving in Macedonia are women and children: UNICEF

Hungary-sends-2,100-police-to-Serbia-border-to-stem-migrant-influxA third of all migrants and refugees who have passed through Macedonia are women and children and their numbers have trippled in the last three months, the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) said Tuesday.

Some 12 percent of those women are pregnant, UNICEF added, as the influx of migrants crossing into Macedonia through Greece grows daily, sparking sporadic clashes with riot police trying to limit the flood of new arrivals on the so-called Balkan route to northern Europe.

The agency estimated that 3,000 people were crossing Macedonia each day, typically after reaching Greece by sea in hopes of then heading north to Germany and Sweden.

Some 80 percent of arrivals in Macedonia have fled the civil war in Syria, while others have left Iraq and Afghanistan, UNICEF said.

Since June 2015, more than 52,000 people had been registered at a centre in Gevgelija in southern Macedonia, but another 50,000 people are believed to have passed through the country without being registered, the statement added.

“Many families have been on the move with their children for months, enduring searing hot days, arriving with only the clothes and shoes they are wearing.

“They are physically exhausted and in desperate need of a place to rest,” UNICEF added, calling for more water and sanitary equipment to be sent to the area.

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