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Samos, Greece Factsheet - December 2016

Situation Report
Originally published
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Refugees and migrants accommodated in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre (as of 31 December)

Beds available in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre

Persons with specific needs accommodated by UNHCR/partners in alternative facilities

Unaccompanied children accommodated by UNHCR/METAdrasi

Core Relief Items distributed by UNHCR/partners during December such as rubber mats, blankets, hygiene kits, etc.

Thermal blankets distributed by UNHCR/partners

Medical passports handed over to medical service providers, facilitating the tracking of support to medical cases

Vulnerable asylum seekers referred to UNHCR’s accommodation scheme on the mainland

Hot teas provided on a daily basis by UNHCR/partners in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre

Staff working at UNHCR Field Office Samos


During December 67 refugees and migrants arrived on Samos Island, compared to 274 in November. Arrival figures remain still significantly lower in comparison to the same month last year, when 9,124 persons arrived on Samos. However, due to the border closure with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement since March 2016, refugees and migrants currently stay weeks or months instead of a few days on the Island. As of 31 December, there are an estimated 1,670 refugees and migrants present on Samos. A total of 33% of these refugees and migrants are from the Syrian Arab Republic, 16% from Afghanistan and 14% from Iraq. The majority of these persons have applied for asylum and are awaiting further steps in their asylum procedure. 25% of the refugee and migrant population in Vathy RIC are children. Overcrowding and poor reception conditions are the primary reasons to the existence of a range of protection risks which refugees and migrants including women and children are exposed to.

Upon arrival on Samos Island, refugees and migrants are apprehended by the Greek authorities after which they are registered and accommodated in Vathy Reception and Identification Centre (RIC). This facility with a capacity of 603 beds is managed by the Greek Reception and Identification Service (RIS) and hosts around 1,670 persons (as of 31 December). UNHCR and its partners provide support to the Greek authorities in improving reception conditions in the RIC. Additionally, we offer temporary alternative accommodation in small-scale apartment/hotel facilities to a limited number persons with specific needs. Samos is the only Island in the Northern Aegean where besides the RIC there are no other sites accommodating refugees and migrants available.

In December, UNHCR referred 150 vulnerable asylum seekers to UNHCR’s accommodation scheme on mainland Greece. This includes elderly, pregnant women, lactating mothers, medical cases, persons with disabilities and victims of torture or Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). In addition, UNHCR supported the referrals carried out by Greek authorities of 12 asylum seekers to sites on the mainland. As per this State-led mechanism, the Greek authorities identify available sites on the mainland for a selected group of asylum seekers who have the required documentation to travel to the mainland. UNHCR assists with the identification of eligible asylum seekers, provides transportation and information.