Arrivals remained low this month with 450 people reaching Greece, mostly by sea. UNHCR called on Greece to investigate multiple reports alleging pushbacks of people by the Greek authorities at the country’s sea and land borders. UNHCR urged for efficient safety net and integration opportunities to help refugees become self-reliant as new Government policy ended massivelyreception assistance for thousands of recognized refugees. Lacking an income, UNHCR fears that many might be pushed into poverty and homelessness, especially the most vulnerable ones.
COVID-19 Prevention and Response
■ UNHCR helps the Greek Government’s prevention and response to COVID-19 in the reception centres by increasing water and sanitation capacity, providing core relief and hygiene items, installing health units for screening and isolation, distributing additional cash assistance, facilitating information dissemination through helplines and interpreters and enhancing its coordination role with UN agencies, NGOs and authorities.
■ UNHCR protects the population at high risk of COVID-19 complications in the island reception centres – where it is difficult to apply social distancing measures. Since mid-March UNHCR has moved 1,385 people to safer accommodation, such as hotels and ESTIA apartments.
■ On the islands and in Evros, UNHCR has provided 18 medical units for screening and isolation as well as 166 portable units for hygiene and sanitation, including chemical toilets, showers and hand washing stations.
■ UNHCR has provided over 137,000 hygiene items such as soap and baby care kits, 40,500 core relief items, such as blankets and sleeping bags, as well as more than 76,000 personal protective equipment for front-line workers.
■ UNHCR facilitates access to quality information for asylum-seekers via helplines, interpretation, the HELP website, podcasts, radio spots, a YouTube channel. UNHCR also assists refugee communities offer help to residents in the island reception centres. This month on Chios refugees from 13 different countries formed volunteer groups to address issues of hygiene and health, among others.
■ UNHCR and partners running non-formal education centres ensure that classrooms are adequately equipped, distances are observed, and children can learn in a safe environment.