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Thousands of refugees smuggled in boats face ‘dreadful’ holding conditions

MSF warns of risks faced by those in smuggling boats bound for the Aegean islands

MEDECINS Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned today that thousands of people face dreadful holding conditions after risking their lives in smuggling boats to reach Greece's Aegean islands.

MSF said men, women and children, exhausted and often soaked from the crossing, spent days sleeping outdoors or squashed in tiny police cells before being moved to the Greek mainland.

"We have seen intolerable overcrowding, with 53 people crammed into a cell meant for six," said MSF field co-ordinator Kostas Georgakas.

"What little they are offered after such a gruelling journey is shameful and dangerous for their health."

Greece is a major destination for refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Last week 591 people, mostly Syrians, reached Crete on a crippled freighter.

Syrians make up more than 90 per cent of the 14,000 migrants who reached the south-eastern Dodecanese islands this year.

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