Obama President praises Greece's 'extraordinary compassion' for refugees

Humanitarian agencies are now warning that conditions must urgently improve before cold weather sets in.

  • Published:
US President Barack Obama (left) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrive to hold a press conference in Athens on November 15, 2016 play

US President Barack Obama (left) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrive to hold a press conference in Athens on November 15, 2016

(Pool/AFP)
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US President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised Greece for showing "extraordinary compassion" to hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing war, in what has become an enormous challenge for the entire European Union.

"I want to thank Greek people for their humanitarian response" and their "extraordinary compassion," Obama said in Athens as he began a final foreign trip to Europe.

Over a million people passed through Greece last year, and the crisis-hit country has struggled to accommmodate over 60,000 refugees left stranded on its territory when Balkan states farther north shuttered their borders earlier this year.

Even with EU funds and assistance, there is overcrowding in Greek camps and frequent brawls between rival ethnic groups.

Humanitarian agencies are now warning that conditions must urgently improve before cold weather sets in.

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