MSF emergency clinic after Moria fire
Migrants and refugees from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and DRC continue to arrive in Greece in search of safety, only to find themselves stranded indefinitely.

Since the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016, migrants and refugees previously in transit through the Greek islands have been trapped there for an indeterminate time in overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions, without access to basic services, adequate shelter or information on their legal status.

We provide medical and mental healthcare to migrants on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos, as well as in Athens. Our activities include vaccinating migrant children against common childhood diseases, providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, treating chronic diseases and providing care for survivors of torture and sexual violence. 

Our teams in Lesbos and Samos have reported overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions while being contained on the islands. We have made repeated calls on the European Union to completely change its approach to migration, which is causing avoidable harm to the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

Our activities in 2020 in Greece

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.

MSF in Greece in 2020 Throughout 2020, MSF continued to denounce the policies that have trapped thousands of people in terrible conditions on Greek islands.
Map of MSF activities in 2020 in Greece

By March, more than 20,000 men, women and children were held in undignified conditions in Moria, a reception centre on Lesbos island with an official capacity of 3,000. COVID-19 lockdown measures further restricted their capacity to move, buy food and access healthcare or legal assistance.

MSF runs a clinic outside Moria to provide sexual and reproductive healthcare, and general healthcare and mental health support for children. In June, we opened an emergency COVID-19 isolation centre, which the local authorities forced us to close soon after. On the night of 7 September, Moria was completely destroyed by several fires and more than 12,000 people were displaced. We rapidly sent mobile clinics and opened an additional clinic to respond to urgent needs. People were moved to a new camp where, by the end of the year, 7,000 people were still living in tents.

On Samos island, at times there were as many as 8,000 people living in Vathy reception centre, which was originally planned for 650. The authorities’ COVID-19 response was inadequate, with only a handful of medical staff and unacceptable quarantining options for infected people. During 2020, MSF provided toilets and thousands of litres of water per day to help prevent health problems associated with poor water and sanitation. In Vathy town, our day centre continued to offer mental health support and sexual and reproductive healthcare, focusing on sexual violence.

In Athens, we treated victims of torture at a specialised clinic and, at a day centre we manage, we offered social and legal assistance, as well as health services. From July, we supported an increasing number of refugees with severe health and psychological issues at risk of eviction from their accommodation.

 

in 2020
Trapped in Moria
I am overwhelmed by the severity of each referral that arrives in my inbox… Dr Liz Clark, working in Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos

“It is difficult to believe this is Europe”

 
MSF emergency clinic after Moria fire
Mediterranean migration

“Enough is enough”: Time to stop the cycle of suffering for refugees on Greek islands

Project Update 17 Sep 2020
 
Moria Fire Camp
Greece

All people in Moria camp must be evacuated to safety in wake of destructive fire

Project Update 9 Sep 2020
 
Yasin, 9 year-old boy in Moria
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

Greek police enforce unwarranted and cruel quarantine of Moria camp on Lesbos

Statement 3 Sep 2020
 
Anti-migrant attack on health facilities outside Moria camp, Lesbos, Greece
Greece

MSF statement on violent 20 August protest in Moria

Statement 21 Aug 2020
 
Lesbos MSF forced to close Covid 19 facility
Greece

MSF forced to close COVID-19 centre on Lesbos

Press Release 30 Jul 2020
 
Yasin, 9 year-old boy in Moria
Greece

Greek government must end lockdown for locked up people on Greek islands

Project Update 16 Jul 2020
 
Refugees in Athens
Greece

Vulnerable refugees evicted and left to sleep on streets

Press Release 13 Jul 2020
 
Frederic*'s story
Greece

Using torture survival skills to cope during a pandemic

Voices from the Field 5 May 2020
 
MSF starts COVID-19 coronavirus activities in France
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

MSF steps up COVID-19 response in Europe

Press Release 30 Mar 2020