Europe is on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis, says the UN. Thousands of refugees are stuck in a muddy camp at the Greek-Macedonian border. Greek police said up to 10,000 mostly Syrian and Iraqi refugees are stuck at the country's Idomeni border crossing in deteriorating conditions.

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A woman brushes a child's hair inside their tent in the early morningDan Kitwood/Getty Images

Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN's refugee agency, said: "The crowded conditions are leading to shortages of food, shelter, water and sanitation. Tensions have been building, fuelling violence and playing into the hands of people smugglers." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said border restrictions being imposed in Europe to stem the flow of migrants "are not in line with international law or with common human decency."

Hundreds of refugees, including many families with small children, arrive daily at the Idomeni crossing in northern Greece, where two official camps are so full that thousands have set up tents in fields all around.

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People stand near their tents in a makeshift refugee camp near the Greek-Macedonian borderMarko Djurica/Reuters
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A man lights a fire as night falls at the Greek-Macedonia borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A woman holds a baby in the makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian borderLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
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People who are waiting to cross the Greek-Macedonian border carry a woman's wheelchair over a ditchMarko Djurica/Reuters
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A boy warms himself by a fire at the Greek-Macedonian borderMarko Djurica/Reuters
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A young girl carries a baby in the early morning on the Greek-Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A woman holds her crying baby at a makeshift camp by the Greek-MacedonianLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
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Refugees queue for food on the Greek-Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A child looks at a phone as refugees gather on the Greek-Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Migrants and refugees wait to be allowed into MacedoniaLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
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A child's Wellington boots are seen outside a UN tent at a camp in Polikastro, 20 kilometres south of the Greek-Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images

In the last couple of days, Macedonian authorities have briefly opened the border, admitting 170 people from Syria and Iraq each time. Macedonia says it will only allow in as many refugees as Serbia, its northern neighbour, takes each day. The tiny trickle has caused a huge backlog in Greece, where most refugees and other migrants reach Europe.

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A view of the fences and rolls of barbed wire running along the border between Greece and MacedoniaDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Macedonian policemen patrol on a path between barbed-wire fences at the Greek-Macedonian borderDimitar Dilkoff/AFP
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Police officers escort a train heading to Macedonia as it passes through a makeshift camp at the borderLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
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Macedonian policemen close the border crossing gate over the railway tracks after a freight train passed throughDimitar Dilkoff/AFP
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An injured boy stands behind a barbed wire barrier at the Greek-Macedonian borderDimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Further along the chain, Austria has said it will let in no more than 3,200 people per day and has imposed a cap on asylum claims of 80 per day. Chancellor Werner Faymann said Austria was determined not to accept the "policy of waving through" migrants to the rest of the EU. "Austria is not a waiting room for Germany," he said.

Austria's interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, announced plans by her government to launch an advertising campaign in Afghanistan — including billboards, TV ads and public bus banners — to discourage Afghans from trying to reach Europe. Around 700,000 migrants entered Austria last year and about 90,000 applied for asylum in the country sitting on the migrant route from Turkey via Greece and the Balkans to Germany.

About 2,000 migrants are still reaching Greek islands from nearby Turkey every day. The head of Europe's border control agency says the numbers of migrants crossing into Europe in January and February this year was 30 times higher than the levels reached at the same time last year. Around 131,000 have reached the continent so far in 2016.

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People walk through a field towards the Greek-Macedonian borderMarko Djurica/Reuters
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Refugees sleep on a bus heading towards the Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Refugee families travel north by bus from Athens towards the Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Families sitting on a bus travel north from Athens to the Greek-Macedonian borderDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Migrants and refugees walk along a road towards the Greece-Macedonia borderSakis Mitrolidis/AFP
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A man holds a child at a window in the makeshift refugee camp at the Greek-Macedonian borderLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP

The UNHCR urged all EU member states to reinforce their capacity to register and process asylum seekers through their national procedures as well as through an EU relocation scheme. "Greece cannot manage this situation alone," Edwards said. Despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, EU member states have so far pledged just 1,539 spaces and only 325 people actually have been relocated, the UNHCR said.