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”

 
Lesbos and Samos Oct2019
Refugees, IDPs and people on the move

Evacuation of squalid Greek camps more urgent than ever over COVID-19 fears

Press Release 12 Mar 2020
 
Lesbos and Samos Oct2019
Greece

Greece, the ‘shield’ of Europe, and EU leaders push migrants into danger

Project Update 11 Mar 2020
 
Living conditions on Samos
Greece

EU must address migration emergency as Greek islands reach breaking point

Statement 4 Mar 2020
 
Children with Chronic diseases in Moria
Greece

Greece denies healthcare to seriously ill refugee children on Lesbos

Press Release 23 Jan 2020
 
Lesbos and Samos Oct2019
Greece

European leaders: Stop punishing asylum seekers on the Greek islands

Open Letter 27 Nov 2019
 
Moria Camp
Greece

Greek and EU authorities deliberately neglecting people trapped on islands

Press Release 5 Sep 2019
 
Pneumonia vaccination - Greek islands
Access to medicines

Humanitarian mechanism for vaccines used for first time in Europe to counter high prices

Press Release 12 Apr 2019
 
Samos - March 2019
Refugees, IDPs and people on the move

EU-Turkey deal continues cycle of containment and despair

Press Release 18 Mar 2019
 
Mobile Clinic - Moria Camp
Greece

Vaccinating over 2,000 refugee children in Moria, Lesbos

Project Update 21 Nov 2018