Refugee Kitchen On An Old Train At Greece-Macedonia Border

  • 12/8/2015 3:59:33 PM
  • Larry Stine
  • Local News

  Tighter border controls in the Balkans are causing a bottleneck of refugees and migrants just as winter sets in.
  Only refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are allowed to cross.
  The rest are stuck and resorting to protests.
  CNN Senior International Correspondent Atika Shubert is at the border between Greece and Macedonia where volunteers are dishing out a lifeline.
  Once a cargo train, left on the tracks between Greece and Macedonia.
  Today, a kitchen and a camp.
  For the volunteers of no borders, it's the perfect place to cook 2,000 hot meals a day for refugees waiting to cross the border.
  "I'm from a very privileged country, England," says Richard Macallister, a volunteer. "From a very privileged background, so I feel like I can't turn my back on a humanitarian crisis. There's Germans, Australians, French. You've got Iranians. Pakistanis. Moroccans."
  For long stretches, there is nothing but the sound of chopping and the buzz of the generator outside.
  Many of those cooking are asylum seekers themselves.
   "Now, we are inside the No Border Kitchen and It's quite an operation," says CNN's Atika Shubert. "There is about 20 or so volunteers here, cooking up the evening meal. and its kind of like a roving soup kitchen, it moves wherever the refugees are moving, wherever they are trying to get across the border, wherever warm meals are needed."
  It started in Hungary, in response to the crackdown on refugees there.
  The kitchen moved to Slovenia, then Greece.
  There is no management, no one person in charge.
  Just a crew of volunteers organizing by Facebook and mobile phone texts.
  Anyone can pitch in and join.
  Here at Idomeni, they deliver to both the Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, who are being allowed into Macedonia and across Europe, and the others left behind on the other side of the border fence, a mixture of Moroccans, Iranians and Pakistanis.
  "For me, I feel like we should open the borders," says Macallister. "Because these people deserve the right they were born with you know, um, they deserve to be able to move freely, to be able to go find a better life and they need one. Whether economic migrant or whether an asylum seeker from war"
"Aha! This is one of the problems."
  As we talk, the generator dies, a common occurrence, but the cooking never stops.
  By 6:30 p.m., there's a long queue for dinner.
  And the steaming soup is a welcome break from the cold.
  It goes on until the soup runs out and it's time to unroll sleeping bags.
  Much needed rest for another day of kitchen duty on the front lines of Europe's refugee crisis.

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