MSF starts emergency intervention programs for undocumented migrants in Greece

"We are responding to the urgent needs of the migrants in the area. This constitutes the first phase of the intervention, with the aim to define how we can best cover these needs," said Giorgos Karagiannis, social worker and head of the MSF mission for the undocumented migrants in Greece, An Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team visited the camp for migrants in the city of Patras, in southern Greece, today, in order to define the details of the organization's emergency intervention to cover the medical needs and improve the living conditions of undocumented migrants in the country. In February, 2008, MSF carried out an exploratory mission to assess the living conditions of undocumented migrants in the administrative detention and concentration centres, and their access to health care. During this exploratory mission, the MSF teams visited the cities of Patras, Igoumenitsa, Arta, the islands of Samos, Lesvos and Chios, and the Evros region. The teams were in contact with the local authorities, the Ministries of Health and Internal Affairs, as well as the port authorities of certain areas, while the results of the exploratory mission were communicated to the central and provincial authorities. The findings of the mission confirmed the urgent medical needs of the migrants and the poor living conditions in most of the detention centres. Hence, as a first step, MSF has started emergency intervention projects in the migrants' detention centers in Mytilini, Evros and Patras. These projects aim to ensure migrants' access to primary health care, to improve sanitary conditions in both migrants' detention centres and the concentration centers at the exit points, as well as to provide psychological support. At the same time, further assessments of the medical needs of undocumented migrants are scheduled to be carried out in other areas in Greece. The MSF team which has arrived today in Patras consists of one medical and three non-medical staff. "We are responding to the urgent needs of the migrants in the area. This constitutes the first phase of the intervention, with the aim to define how we can best cover these needs," said Giorgos Karagiannis, social worker and head of the MSF mission for the undocumented migrants in Greece, stressing that "our work will be effective only with the help and the collaboration of all governmental actors at local and central level." The organization's intervention in Patras focuses on ensuring better living conditions for the migrants in the specific concentration centre, as well as on the provision of medical care and psychological support for the undocumented migrants.