BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The European Union has been dealing with a refugee crisis that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Thousands of refugees are fleeing home to escape things like war and living out of tents in deplorable conditions. It’s a dire situation that an Olean doctor and his daughter witnessed first hand.
“We spoke to several people and they said they would rather have died a quick death in Syria versus a slow death in Greece, and that’s what’s happening,” said Dr Tahir Chauhdry of Women’s Health of Western New York
Doctor Tahir Chauhdry and his daughter Anisah recently returned from a 9 day mission to refugee camps in Thessaloniki Greece. They traveled with the Syrian American Medical Society that brought a team of doctors, nurses, and translators.
“I did ultrasounds, or for anybody that had any problems, something minor like a mosquito bite or something major like a fracture, abdominal pain, chest pain,” said Dr. Chauhdry.
They volunteered at 3 different camps. Doctor Chauhdry says the government camps provided food and some shelter. But the conditions were less than ideal, with 20 toilets for over a thousand people. He says in the non-government camp, it’s every man or woman for themselves.
“We’ve met people who lived there for 6 months and every night they try to cross the border we met one lady in her mid 30’s. If you look at her you would never imagine she trekked almost 250 miles to Belgrade, Serbia with a smuggler until she got caught,” said Dr. Chauhdry.
Some of the camps lack basic necessities, like running water. Doctor Chauhdry says the people living in tents were families and little kids with nowhere to go.
“There was this one man who said that he would rather join ISIS than stay in the camps,” said Anisah Chauhdry, St. Bonaventure University freshman.
“The border was closed recently and a lot of people were under the impression they were going to get through really quick, the first wave of refugees did get through. unfortunately these people are going to be stuck for possibly months or even years,” said Dr. Chauhdry.