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Friday, August 7, 2015

migrants pouring in to European countries - this time from Macedonia ... !!

Macedonia was an ancient kingdom on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.  The rise of Macedon, from a small kingdom to controlling  the fate of the entire Hellenic world has been studied for long.   The rule of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great, ruled the whole of Greece through the federation of Greek states, a feat accomplished after destroying a revolting Thebes.  Republic of Macedonia  is a landlocked country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. The country's capital is Skopje.

Nala Damayanthi starring Madhavan and Geetu Mohandas was an enjoyable comedy –  with storyline of illegal entry into Australia, and in the pursuit to have a work permit, getting married, chased by Customs and eventually a cinematic happy ending marriage.  Plot of this movie is said to be inspired from English film Green Card.  Away in Masai Mara, the month of August is marked by spectacular sunrises. By August the herds of the wildebeest migration have normally reached the plains and they move around in large numbers grazing the grass down.  Tourists throng to see the  spectacular river crossings whence  large numbers of wildebeest taking the plunge to run the gauntlet of the crocodile infested waters to reach the other side.  Watching animal herds could be fun – certainly not when humans have to migrate from their home country to other places seeking food, shelter and mental peace.

There are reports of thousands of migrants racing  to catch the last trains into backdoor of Europe - desperate families head towards Hungary before the new EU member completes a 109-mile long fence across its borders.  MailOnline and other press report of men, women and children anxiously  waiting for trains in the Macedonian town of Gevgelija.   Scores of desperate migrants from the Middle East and North Africa have been pictured sitting on railway tracks in Macedonia - a country that is fast becoming a hub for illegal migration into Europe from all over the world.Waiting for trains that will continue their journey through Serbia and Hungary on to wealthier western European nations like Germany and France, the migrants were photographed at a train station in the town of Gevgelija, on the Macedonian-Greek border.Vast queues are seen at the station's ticket office, where the migrants use the few Macedonian denars and euros they have to their name to purchase tickets for the overcrowded trains, where men, women and children stand for hours in claustrophobic cabins and aisles.

There is no question of comfort as families crowd into packed, run-down carriages as they travel towards Serbia and on to Hungary – it is a question of survival and uncertain future, as desperate migrants pile onto overcrowded trains in  sweltering heat.  Situated as it is in the heart of eastern Europe, Macedonia sees migrants arrive from numerous locations - with the majority arriving via land through Bulgaria and Turkey having fled war torn nations like Syria and Afghanistan. African migrants coming to Macedonia will already have faced the horrors of crossing the Mediterranean Sea on board dangerously overcrowded and dilapidated boats run by people-smuggling gangs based in North Africa. Arriving from Greece, these migrants quickly make their way to the border with southern Macedonia.Wherever they have come from, few migrants plan on staying in Macedonia for very long, moving through the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen Area - nations that have abolished passport and border control at their shared borders.Having caught the Serbia-bound train from Gevgelija, the migrants easily pass through Hungary and the Czech Republic into Germany and France.

While some of the migrants end their journey in these wealthy Western nations, many continue on to Calais - where they will join thousands of others currently living in the squalid Jungle migrant camp and making nightly raids on the Channel Tunnel, which they hope to use to pass into Britain.  Recently, Hungarian soldiers started building a 109-mile long fence along the border with Serbia, in an effort meant to stop the rising flow of migrants trying to enter the European Union.Work on the fence is being carried out at several locations at once, with around 900 soldiers taking part in the project. Some elements of the fence, including the razor wire to be placed on top of the barrier, is being prepared by inmates from Hungarian prisons, and people in a state work program may also be sent to help the soldiers.

More than 100,000 migrants have reached Hungary on routes across the Balkans so far in 2015, compared with fewer than 43,000 asylum seekers last year and 18,900 in 2013.  There have been deaths at sea - at least 367 survivors were taken aboard the Le Naimh, which was approaching the dock at Palermo in Sicily.  The Italian Navy, which had two ships in the rescue operation, said three survivors were flown by helicopter for medical treatment aboard the Doctors Without Borders ship Dignity1. During the rescue, crew of Dignity1 tossed life vests and life preservers as survivors swam frantically to boats. It is stated that may went to sea – with only one life jacket that was with father,  who gave the life jacket to his wife, because she didn't know how to swim. After that he saw that the baby was getting deep in the water' and in danger of drowning.Several Syrians were among those rescued, including a pregnant woman who at first appeared in danger of miscarriage.

In another instance, a Sudanese migrant was arrested at the end of the Channel Tunnel in Kent after running  all the way through from Calais. The man was almost at the end of the 31-mile long tunnel when he was caught be police less than a mile from Folkestone.He scaled four security fences and dodged 400 surveillance cameras before sneaking into the undersea link.  The desperate migrant then ran in darkness through the south tunnel, which is used by Eurostar trains heading from London to Paris and Brussels. He was only spotted when he set off an alarm around 15 miles into his 'highly dangerous' journey through the tunnel, a Eurotunnel spokesman said.UK border police finally caught him as he was within sight of the tunnel mouth in Cheriton, near Folkestone, after services were delayed by four hours.

The Eurotunnel spokesman added: 'This type of criminal intrusion into the tunnel is extremely rare, as well as being both illegal and extremely dangerous.'Trains travel through there from England at up to 100mph, and he could easily have been struck. Usually migrants climb aboard Shuttle trains or lorries, not run all the way through the tunnel.'  The authorities are now busy investigating how he managed to evade all the different levels of security.

It is believed the man was part of 600 migrants who tried to storm the Channel Tunnel terminal at Cocquelles in France.   The man had run in total darkness – pathetic is the quest for migrating !  The crisis in Calais has escalated recently as around 3,000 migrants massed on the northern French coast, in a bid to storm the Eurotunnel site and cross.  Abdul Rahman Haroun, 40, of no fixed abode, wascharged with causing an obstruction to an engine or carriage using the railway under the Malicious Damage Act 1861.He is due to appear before Medway Magistrates' Court.  Kent Police spokesman added: 'It is understood a Home Office Immigration Enforcement are also investigating this incident in a separate enquiry.'

The running incident is  a loner - migrants have  risked their lives by smuggling themselves into refrigerated lorries, clinging to the axles of HGVs and even aboard a cargo of coffins. Earlier this week, hundreds of people were caught trying to jump onto lorries boarding ferries bound for Britain.It was a clear change of tactic for the migrants, who in recent weeks had focused their efforts to reach Britain on the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais.Meanwhile Eurotunnel authorities have been left struggling to source extra fencing needed to protect the site after French factory workers went on holiday.

Clearly all is not well ….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Aug 2015.

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