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Greece

OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE IN GREECE

In Samos, we're supporting isolation for simple cases and deployed an emergency prep team to help with primary healthcare and screening. We have also prepared an emergency plan in case the refugee camp of Moria should the epidemic spread on the island. 

At the moment we are promoting health information to the camp residents and we have all procedures in place in order to support referrals of patients presenting symptoms related to COVID-19.

At the same time, we have adapted our facilities and procedures in order to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff, we are increasing the provision of water and sanitation services in the camp and we are scaling up our operations with the recruitment of extra medical, paramedical, support staff and the acquisition of the necessary equipment. We are in discussions with the ministry of health to see how we can coordinate action and offer more support.

People trapped in squalid camps at entry points for asylum seekers and refugees on the Greek islands are in especially high-risk environments for COVID-19 transmission and should be evacuated immediately.  MSF is urging for vulnerable people such as the elderly and patients with chronic diseases to be evacuated as the sanitary and living conditions make prevention almost impossible, and accessing healthcare facilities are problematic.

 

Can you make a donation to support our COVID-19 response?

Right now, Médecins Sans Frontières is providing much needed support and medical care in over 30 countries to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Our teams are also gearing up to confront potential outbreaks in the hundreds of areas we were already working before the pandemic struck. We are deploying medical staff, sending supplies and applying nearly 50 years of experience fighting epidemics to protect the most vulnerable and save lives.
 
Can you help increase our capacity to respond by making a donation to our COVID-19 Crisis Appeal?

 

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Greece is a key entry point for refugees and migrants making the journey to Europe. Fleeing countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and Congo, thousands continue to risk their lives.

Médecins Sans Frontières has provided medical and humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees in Greece since 1996. Migrants and refugees continue to be the focus of MSF activities on the Greek mainland and the islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios.

Refugees in Greece fall through the cracks of systemic care, suffering from an absence of medical and psychosocial support.

Migrants making the journey across the Mediterranean

MSF activities expanded in 2014 to meet the needs of the increasing numbers reaching the Greek shores from Turkey. Since the closure of the Balkan route and the EU deal with Turkey in March 2016, many have been prevented from leaving the Greek islands while waiting for a decision on their claim for asylum.

The asylum process is opaque; migrants and refugees have been left stranded, without access to basic services, adequate shelter or information on their legal status. Those who reach the mainland often live in inadequate conditions, waiting for their refugee status or relocation to camps or flats.

Moria's Olive Grove

Asylum seekers travelling to Europe experience the detrimental physical and mental health effects of prolonged detention, the lack of necessary care or interruption of treatment. MSF’s goal is to assist refugees in maintaining a basic level of hygiene, health and dignity.

Our attention is focused on Greece’s Dodecanese islands, where many refugees first make land in desperate conditions, and on the border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

Greek "Prison" Islands

The number of migrants arriving on Lesbos sharply decreased after the signing of the EU-Turkey deal. For those who have made the journey, the Greek government enforces a policy of containment, resulting in thousands of men, women and children in Lesbos living in limbo in squalid, overcrowded conditions, with insufficient access to health care.

Thousands of people, the majority of whom fled wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are detained behind layers of razor wire, locked up without charge, many beyond the maximum 25 day period, and in putrid spaces designed to temporarily host people for only a few days.

Moria camp is both unsafe and unsanitary, especially for children. Every day we treat many hygiene-related conditions such as vomiting, diarrhoea, skin infections and other infectious diseases, and we must then return these people to the same risky living conditions. It’s an unbearable vicious circle.

Declan Barry
MSF’s Medical Coordinator

MSF deploys rescue teams to give first aid, distribute relief items such as meals, blankets, clothes and tents, and provide transport to people who need to reach the camps and medical facilities further inland.

A team organised outreach activities in Moria camp on Lesbos Island to identify specific vulnerabilities and mental health needs. The needs of the most vulnerable (namely children) are not being met due to a lack of resources. The demand for our sexual and reproductive health service is also increasing.

Mainland Greece

MSF has been running three clinics in Athens to respond to the specific needs of migrants and refugees. MSF provides sexual and reproductive healthcare, treatment for chronic diseases and mental health support. Teams have also started operating a travel medicine clinic to provide support to people moving on from Athens.

MSF offers comprehensive care to survivors of torture and other forms of violence. In a clinic run in collaboration with Day Centre Babel and the Greek Council for Refugees, implements a multidisciplinary approach including medical and mental healthcare, physiotherapy, social assistance and legal support. 
 
Mobile teams also operate in the wider Attika region around Athens, as well as Central Greece. 
 

Search and Rescue 

Our search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea have saved many of those making the dangerous journey crossing from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. Find out more at: searchandrescue.msf.org

Find out more about Greece