Last updated 21 November 2016
More than 170,600 people have arrived in Greece via the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, and at least 420 people have died trying. Following the closure of the main Balkan migration route towards Western Europe, more than 47,000 refugees and migrants are stranded on mainland Greece, living in precarious, often appalling conditions in more than 60 different official and unofficial sites over the country. More than 13,000 people are stuck on the Greek islands, living mostly in overcrowded hotspots (mainly in Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Samos) awaiting an interview or a decision on their asylum case.
MSF is currently active in more than 20 different locations across the country, providing mainly mental healthcare, sexual and reproductive healthcare, and care to patients suffering from chronic diseases. In addition, MSF organised a vaccination campaign to support the Ministry of Health that reached more than 7,000 children between six weeks and 15 years of age in more than 15 locations across the country.
Activities 2015 International Activity Report
More than 856,000 refugees and migrants arrived by sea or land in Greece in 2015, making it the main entry point for people attempting to reach Europe.
Volunteers and civil society organisations mobilised to help new arrivals, and MSF provided healthcare. A third of the people landing on Greece’s shores were women and children. Approximately 91 per cent came from countries affected by war and violence – predominantly Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Most disembarked on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros. On Lesbos alone, as many as 6,000 people were arriving each day in October.
Lesbos and Samos
In July, MSF opened clinics in Moria and Kara Tepe camps on Lesbos and set up a mobile clinic in the port, where thousands of people waited out in the open in sweltering heat to travel on to Athens. MSF improved water and sanitation facilities, provided waste management and installed chemical toilets and water points in Moria. The team also organised buses to transport new arrivals to the registration centres, located 70 kilometres away, and for medical referrals. A transit centre was opened in Matamados to provide assistance to new arrivals, including shelter, transportation, food, blankets and wi-fi (enabling contact with families and friends). Over 16,100 medical consultations were carried out and 3,000 people received mental health support.
An MSF team began to offer medical assistance to people landing on Samos in October. A mobile team welcomed them and transferred them to the registration office at the main port, where staff conducted medical consultations. The team also distributed relief items and an average of 540 meals a day to those living in the reception centre.
MSF was the only humanitarian organisation present on Agathonisi, a small island near Samos. A team met arrivals and provided shelter and medical care.
Year MSF first worked in the country: 1991.
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