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”

 
Living Conditions in Lesbos, Greece
Turkey

Two years on, deal continues to fail thousands of people seeking asylum

Statement 16 Mar 2018
 
Living Conditions in Lesbos, Greece
Greece

MSF activity update – March 2018

Project Update 16 Mar 2018
 
Tondo project in Philippines
Photo Story

A year in pictures 2017

18 Dec 2017
Photo Story
 
Samos RIC 3
Greece

Activity update – December 2017

Voices from the Field 5 Dec 2017
 
Trapped on the Greek islands
Greece

Families trapped on islands on the brink of a humanitarian emergency

Press Release 5 Dec 2017
 
Living Conditions in Lesbos, Greece
Greece

EU border policies fuel mental health crisis for asylum seekers

Report 10 Oct 2017
 
Living Conditions in Lesbos, Greece
Greece

A dramatic deterioration for asylum seekers on Lesbos

Report 24 Jul 2017
 
Winter Living Conditions in Belgrade, Serbia
Refugees, IDPs and people on the move

Thousands trapped in freezing temperatures in Greece and the Balkans

Project Update 9 Jan 2017
 
Greece

Providing mental healthcare to stranded asylum seekers

Voices from the Field 9 Nov 2016