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UNHCR: Europe On 'Cusp' Of Self-Induced Humanitarian Crisis

Migrants and refugees wait to cross the Greece-Macedonia border near the village of Idomeni on March 1.

The United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR, has criticized European countries over a buildup of 24,000 refugees in Greece, saying governments are not working together to address the migrant crisis and are imposing new border restrictions that violate the law.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards warned on March 1 that Europe is now “on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis.”

Edwards told RFE/RL that 131,724 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea during the first two months of 2016, exceeding the total seen during the first half of 2015.

The UNHCR also warned that crowded conditions in Greece have led to shortages of food, shelter, and water among migrants, stoking tensions and “fueling violence.”

The warnings come a day after Macedonia used tear gas and stun grenades to repel an attempt by several hundred migrants to ram through the barbed-wire fence on its border with Greece.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL, AFP, Reuters, and AP