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”

 
Idomeni after the closing of the border
Greece

"Help us to find a safe path"

Voices from the Field 3 Mar 2016
 
Assistance for refugees in Serbia
Mediterranean migration

EU Migration Crisis Update - February 2016

Project Update 24 Feb 2016
 
On the Greek / Macedonian Border at Idomeni
Greece

Thousands stranded as new arbitrary border restrictions expose refugees to violence

Crisis Update 23 Feb 2016
 
Refugee camp in Samos, Greece
Greece

Looking after refugees in transit

Project Update 17 Feb 2016
 
Portrait of a Man from Pakistan
Italy

"My work is a real opportunity to help those in need, just like me."

Voices from the Field 28 Jan 2016
 
Trapani Italy - refugee reception and mental health
Mediterranean migration

European policies dramatically worsened the so-called 2015 “refugee crisis”

Report 19 Jan 2016
 
Life in Idomeni , Greece
Photo Story

Photo Story: Caught in limbo

23 Dec 2015
Photo Story
 
Assistance at sea to refugee boats in distress
Mediterranean migration

MSF and Greenpeace launch life-saving operations in the Aegean Sea

Press Release 3 Dec 2015
 
Syrian refugees in Serbia
Mediterranean migration

Hundreds stranded without aid as new border control measures come into force

Crisis Update 26 Nov 2015