Greece + 4 more

UNHCR Greece Factsheet - October 2019 [EN/EL]

Situation Report
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Living conditions for asylum-seekers in the reception centres remain alarming as sea arrivals continued this month. 9,000 reached the islands, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan and 2,000 crossed the Evros land border. UNHCR supports fast and fair asylum procedures and appreciates Greece’s efforts to overhaul its strained asylum system, but is concerned that the asylum law voted in Parliament reduces safeguards for people seeking international protection and introduces extensive provisions for applicants to be detained.

Working with Partners

■ UNHCR supports the Government of Greece who leads the refugee response, working closely with other United Nations agencies, international and national NGOs, regional and State institutions, municipalities, grassroots organizations, refugee communities and the local society.

Main Activities

Accommodation and Cash Assistance

■ UNHCR runs the EU-funded ESTIA accommodation and cash assistance programmes in cooperation with the Government, municipalities and NGOs.

■ UNHCR works closely with staff from State organizations to prepare for the transition of these programmes to the Greek authorities.

■ Apartments in cities and towns offer asylum-seekers and refugees greater dignity and independence. Children can go to school, while access to healthcare and other services is facilitated. It also helps the integration of those who will remain in Greece.
The host population benefits from the 4,480 apartments and 14 buildings that the programme rents in 21 cities and towns across Greece. UNHCR had 25,550 accommodation places in October.

■ UNHCR gave cash in the form of pre-paid cards to 76,600 asylum-seekers and refugees in apartments and sites. Cash allows refugees to choose what they need most. It is spent on food, goods and services, and contributes to the local community.
In October, almost 7.8 million euro in cash assistance will eventually be re-injected into the local economy