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 2021 in Greece

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021.

MSF in Greece in 2021 Restrictive EU and Greek migration policies continued to have a negative impact on the health and dignity of asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Greece in 2021.
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Cuts in spending on housing programmes for asylum seekers and the withdrawal of cash assistance for recognised refugees have meant that many more people face the risk of ending up living on the streets, with insufficient food or access to shelter and hygiene facilities. 

In 2021, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide mental health services, sexual and reproductive healthcare and social support to migrants and refugees on Lesbos and Samos islands. In June, we opened a clinic opposite the Mavrovouni centre on Lesbos to be closer to our patients. Our staff witnessed the severe impact that the precarious living conditions, arbitrary asylum procedures and fear of deportation were having on people’s physical and mental health. 

On Samos island, in September, the EU and Greece inaugurated a detention-like reception and identification centre in Zervou, an isolated area far from the main town. The centre is surrounded by three barbed-wire fences, and people’s movements are strictly controlled. Our team moved nearer the centre to make it easier for people to access care. Between August and November, we also offered first aid to people arriving on Samos by boat. This intervention enabled us not only to ensure people’s safe landing, but also to bear witness to their reception by the authorities. 

In Athens, we run a day centre for migrants, where social, legal and a range of healthcare services are available. In June, we launched a health promotion campaign to encourage and support migrants in Athens to register for COVID-19 vaccination. At the end of 2021, after seven years of operations, we closed our specialised clinic for victims of torture, referring patients still in need of treatment and long-term support to our day centre and other organisations. 
 

in 2021
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”

 
Trapped in Moria
Greece

Confinement, violence and chaos: How a European refugee camp is traumatising people on Lesbos

Project Update 18 Jul 2018
 
Mobile Clinic - Moria Camp
Greece

Overcrowded, dangerous and insufficient access to healthcare in Moria

Statement 4 May 2018
 
The impossibility of hope: Asylum seekers still stranded in Greece
Photo Story

"Stolen hope" – Asylum seekers still stranded in Greece

22 Mar 2018
Photo Story
 
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