Concerns for hundreds of unaccompanied children sleeping rough in Greece this winter
NGOs launch roadmap for handover of refugee response to Greek Government
More than 2,000 unaccompanied children are on the waiting list for safe shelters in Greece, according to a new report by 12 organisations. The chronic shortage of accommodation for children is just one of the gaps in services that is worsening as the Greek Government prepares to take full control of the refugee response.
3,800 people arrived by sea and land this month, the majority of whom from Syria and Iraq. On the islands, the heavy rain worsened further the living conditions for asylum-seekers
Protection risks increased in the overcrowded RICs as hygiene and security deteriorated, putting children and the vulnerable in particular danger. The Government decided to increase transfers of those eligible to accommodation in Government-run sites and UNHCR apartments in the mainland and Crete with UNHCR’s support.
Working with Partners
MSF has been providing medical and humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and migrants in Greece since 1996. In 2014, MSF expanded its activities in Greece to meet the needs of asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands and mainland from Turkey. Since 2016, MSF medical teams in Greece have offered services including primary healthcare, treatment for chronic diseases, sexual and reproductive healthcare, physiotherapy and mental healthcare. Today, MSF provides medical services in the wider area of Athens, in Epirus, as well as on the islands of Lesvos and Samos.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 — For the second consecutive winter, Greek authorities are trapping thousands of men, women and children on the Greek islands leaving them on the brink of a humanitarian emergency, warns the medical and humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). In response to this crisis, MSF is scaling up its emergency humanitarian intervention and is calling on EU and Greek authorities to open the islands and immediately move people to the mainland.
Athens – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and partner Médecins du Monde (MdM) announced today (5 December) that together they have rapidly provided primary health care services to over 1,200 migrants and refugees on the Greek mainland. The services were provided via mobile medical units during a two-month period between September and October 2017.
A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Since Wednesday, 15 November 2017, floods have been reported in the town of Mandra, Megara and Nea Peramos, which are all towns in the West Attica region of Greece (approx. 30 min drive from Athens).
Mandra – a town of 13,5001 inhabitants – was the most severely affected. In Mandra, at around 6 a.m., a wave of water suddenly rushed through the city, killing people, carrying away hundreds of cars, and devastating houses and property.
Sea arrivals continued mainly to Lesvos and Chios, but decreased this month to 4,100 people. The majority came from Syria and Iraq, and 59% were women and children.
The conditions in the deteriorated reception centres deteriorated further with asylum-seekers waiting to complete lengthy procedures while in inappropriate shelter with limited access to services. services for extended periods.
Several thousand asylumseekers endured cold and rain in tents or makeshift shelters without heating as the authorities struggled to make preparations for the winter.
Conditions are improving in the mainland, as the Government continues to close temporary sites. However, the nearly 5,000 sea and land arrivals this month exacerbated further overcrowding and overcrowding and poor conditions in the border reception centres. Many, including the vulnerable, are staying in makeshift shelter.
UNHCR urged the acceleration of winter preparations on the islands, and transferred and in coordination with the authorities transferred over 2,000 eligible, vulnerable people to continue their asylum applications in the mainland and Crete.
Sea arrivals reached a new peak in September with 4,900 people mainly Samos, Lesvos, and Chios. The majority came from Syria and Iraq, and 62% were women and children.
Asylum-seekers have to complete lengthy procedures while in inadequate shelter with limited services. In response, UNHCR intensified transfers of those eligible to the mainland, to continue their applications there.
Robust action to improve conditions is needed by the authorities, who are assuming the full management of services.
H I G H L I G H T S
233 residents living in the site of Veria, as of 31 October.
34 new arrivals were received throughout October from Lesvos and Evros border crossing. All welcomed and briefed about site services and amenities by NRC SMS team and provided with food and non-food items by NRC Shelter team and Bridge2.
1 UAM was transferred to Alexandria site, and 24 residents departed spontaneously by own means.
“We all live with so much uncertainty here. It’s so important that organizations like the Red Cross are providing clear and accurate information, that they listen to what the community needs and does something with that information.”
Saleh, Volunteer with the Red Cross in Nea Kavala Camp, Greece
Arrivals increased in August to 3,600 people arriving mainly to Samos, Lesvos, and Chios. The majority were from Syria and Iraq, while 62 per cent are women and children.
Asylum-seekers are staying amidst deteriorating conditions in overcrowded sites on Samos,
Lesvos, and Chios despite UNHCR transfers to the mainland doubling this month.
As national authorities assume full management of services in the hotspots,
UNHCR called for further robust action and urgent deployment of more staff.
Conditions in the mainland are generally improving as the Government is closing temporary sites and people are moving into housing. However, arrivals peaked this month when 6,000 people this people arrived by sea and land. Border reception centres became critically overcrowded, conditions deteriorated and protection risks increased including of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Between January and September 2017, close to 140,000 refugees and migrants arrived on European shores. Although two-thirds of them came through the Central Mediterranean Route, the Eastern Mediterranean Route has recorded a recent spike in sea crossings to Greece (including 4,239 children in three months) coupled with new arrivals through the Western Mediterranean Route and the Black Sea.
H I G H L I G H T S
Greece: EU border policies fuel mental health crisis for asylum seekers
MSF calls on authorities to immediately relocate asylum seekers on Greek islands to the Greek mainland
Conditions in the mainland are generally improving. The Government is closing temporary sites and more people are staying in rented housing.
However, increased sea and land arrivals land arrivals of 4,200 people this month accentuated the overcrowded conditions in island and border reception centres leading to alarming conditions and slower asylum procedures.