• Between July and September 2020, 30,543 refugees and migrants (25% children) arrived in Europe. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all countries, except Italy, reported a decrease in arrivals, compared to the same period in 2019.
• In Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, 7,900 children accessed child protection services including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), case management and referral, while over 1,800 attended formal and nonformal education activities. Around 1,400 women, girls, boys, and men benefitted from gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response.
• On 9 September, a fire at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) left 12,000 refugees and migrants, including 4,200 children, homeless. Within 24 hours, all 406 previously identified unaccompanied and separated children were safely transferred to the mainland. The Government of Greece, supported by UNICEF and partners, has been leading efforts to ensure the provision of clean water, hygiene, shelter, protection and education.
• UNICEF welcomes the relocation to date of 1,000 asylum seekers (mostly unaccompanied and separated children) from Greece to other EU member states in 2020 and encourages further relocations.
• The COVID pandemic continues to acutely impact the health and wellbeing of the refugee and migrant populations, who suffer from limited access to basic services such as psychosocial support, education, healthcare and legal aid. There remains continued need to assure support for children, who represent almost a quarter of all refugee and migrant population, and who continue to be exposed to separation from their families/caregivers, psychological distress and sexual abuse and violence.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
With the easing of COVID-related movement restrictions, the number of refugee and migrant arrivals in Europe increased significantly during the reporting period. New arrivals between July and September are estimated at 30,543, bringing the total number of arrivals in 2020 to 58,8501 . With almost a quarter of these new arrivals being children, the estimated number of children present in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro is now 73,000, many of whom remain dependent on continued humanitarian assistance, including 10,740 UASC.
The main countries of origin are Tunisia (20,6%), Algeria (14%), Bangladesh (7%), Afghanistan (6.5%)2 , Syria (6,3%) and Morocco (6,1%).
The map shows the active, extremely hazardous sea migration routes used by refugees and migrants to enter Europe.
The COVID pandemic continues to acutely impact the health and wellbeing of the refugee and migrant populations, who are disproportionately vulnerable to the fluid public health context, with limited access to basic services such as psychosocial support, education and healthcare.
There remains continued need to assure support for children, who represent almost quarter of all refugee and migrant population, and who continue to be exposed to separation from their families/caregivers, psychological distress and sexual abuse and violence.
In early September, fires broke out at the Moria Reception & Identification Centre (RIC) located on the Greek island of Lesvos. The centre, home to approximately 12,000 refugees, migrants and asylum seekers , 4,200 of whom children including over 400 unaccompanied and separated children, was severely damaged, forcing people to flee for safety.
The refugee and migrant centre in Moria had long been a concern due to the overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, and lack of services, as it continued to operate with a population many times its designed maximum capacity of 2,757 people.