Greece + 8 more

Europe’s Refugee Emergency Response - Update #21, 29 January – 4 February 2016

Situation Report
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  • On 30 January, a boat heading to Lesvos capsized, taking the lives of 37 people. Seventy-five people were rescued from the sea in Canakkale. On 2 February, according to the Turkish Coast Guard, a boat capsized off the coast of Turkey, at Seferihisar in the Izmir province. Nine people, including two babies, drowned and 13 people were rescued.

  • A series of strikes have characterized the end of January and beginning of February in Greece. The strikes are taking place in a general atmosphere of political and social reforms that culminated with the declared general strike of 4 February, which is likely to cause further congestion on the islands. On 30 January, a taxi driver strike started in Gevgelija in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which has affected the pace of the refugee transit through the country. Drivers blocked the railroad hindering trains from transporting refugees in protest that refugees have not been permitted to travel to the northern border via taxi. Interim measures were reached periodically allowing refugees to travel by taxi and bus to avoid overcrowding the site. The Border Police regulated the flow of refugees into the country. An agreement was reached in the evening of 3 February, whereby one train a day will transport refugees and the remaining people will be allowed to travel by taxi or bus to the Tabanovce transit site.

  • As decided at a ministerial meeting on 30 January, the Greek Defense Ministry will assume a more active role for the completion of the five hotspots. On the mainland, the Ministry will provide two camps in Sindos (Thessaloniki) and Schisto (Piraeus), with a capacity of 1,500 people with the possibility to expand to 4,000 each. A Central Coordinating Body for the Management of Migration will be created, led by a senior military official in collaboration with other competent authorities, as well as UNHCR and the European Commission.


73,442 Refugees and migrants arriving by sea to Europe in 2016.

366 Refugees and migrants estimated to have died / gone missing at sea in 2016.

2,040 Average daily sea arrivals in Greece from 29 January - 4 February 2016.

373,152 UNHCR thermal blankets distributed since the start of the crisis.

50,340 UNHCR sleeping mats distributed since the start of the crisis.

USD 235.8M: Total 2016 requirements for UNHCR’s activities in the context of the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Europe.

USD 107.5M: Funding received for UNHCR’s activities in Europe in 2016.


  • Boost reception capacity and provide emergency assistance in receiving countries through support for States, civil society and local communities.

  • Strengthen protection systems and prevent refoulement including through presence and capacity building.

  • Increase strategic messaging and advocacy to and about persons of concern.