Refugees and migrants accommodated in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre (as of 31 January)
Refugees and migrants arrived on Samos Island
Persons with specific needs accommodated by UNHCR/partners outside Vathy Reception and Identification Centre
Core Relief Items distributed by UNHCR/partners during January such as rubber mats, blankets, hygiene kits, etc.
Hot teas provided on a daily basis by UNHCR/partners in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre
Beds available in the Vathy Reception and Identification Centre
Asylum seekers transferred to UNHCR’s accommodation scheme and sites on the mainland
Unaccompanied children accommodated by UNHCR/METAdrasi
Thermal blankets distributed by UNHCR/partners
Staff working at UNHCR Field Office Samos
During January 232 refugees and migrants arrived on Samos Island, compared to 67 in December 2016. Arrival figures remain still significantly lower in comparison to the same month last year, when 4,087 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 January, there are an estimated 1,379 refugees and migrants present on Samos. 28% of these persons are from the Syrian Arab Republic, 13% from Afghanistan and 15% from Iraq. The majority of these persons have applied for asylum and are awaiting further steps in their asylum procedure. 18% 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 to which refugees and migrants, including women and children are exposed.
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 735 beds is managed by the Greek Reception and Identification Service (RIS) and hosts around 1,379 persons (as of 31 January). UNHCR and its partners provide support to the Greek authorities in improving reception conditions in the RIC. Additionally, we offer temporary accommodation in small-scale apartment facilities to a limited number of 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 January, UNHCR referred 200 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 97 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. Since October 2016, UNHCR supported the transfer of around 770 persons to mainland Greece, with the majority being vulnerable asylum seekers.