Refugee crisis

Balance shift sees women and children account for majority of migrants

A mother and her children disembarked from a boat in Greece. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Last year, most of the Middle Eastern migrants seeking asylum in Europe were young, single men. But The Washington Post reports that over the past several weeks the balance has shifted, and some 57 percent of asylum seekers are now women and their children, along with unaccompanied minors. The surge, experts say, is due to mounting fears that European nations will soon close their borders. “My cousins, my neighbors, everyone told us, ‘Go now. There isn’t much time, because they will shut the door,’” Aziza Hussein told the Post. “We crossed the sea. But they won’t let us through.”

A number of Balkan countries — Macedonia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and more — have indeed begun to severely restrict the number of migrants allowed to cross their borders amid fears that Islamic extremists have been slipping into Europe with the waves of refugees. Greece, a common entry point, has been left to contend with thousands of migrants who are now stranded in overcrowded camps. When migrants at one camp tried to rush the border with Macedonia, authorities resorted to firing tear gas into the crowds — which included women and children. “We can’t take this,” Shaza Hamdune, a Syrian widow traveling with her two young children, told the Post. “My son, when he saw the tear gas today, he clung to me because it reminded him of the war.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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