Better conditions meet refugees in GreeceSince mid-December the Danish Refugee Council has been working to support the Greek Authorities in improving the reception conditions at Moria site on Lesvos Island.
In 2015 the Greek Islands have been the primary entry point for refugees and migrants crossing into Europe. With Lesvos having the largest influx of people, the response capacity has understandably been stretched to its limits. In the last months, the Danish Refugee Council has been working to support the Greek Authorities in Moria site in Lesvos, where all refugees and migrants arriving to Lesvos pass through for registration.
“Since mid-December, we’ve had a continuous 24 hour presence in Moria site, ensuring shelter allocation for people transiting, and providing people coming into the registration center with information about the registration process and available services in Moria. Since January, DRC has also contributed to the provision of hot meals in the evenings. Furthermore, we’ve assisted the Greek authorities to improve the facilities through daily cleaning and maintenance work, mainly for the shelter infrastructure. Our humanitarian work is in support of the Greek Ministry of Migration with whom we enjoy good collaboration in Moria, where clearly the infrastructure and support systems are improving all the time,” says Heather Amstutz, Greece Representative at the Danish Refugee Council.
In 2015 Greece became the main entrance point for the refugees seeking to reach Europe and it has led to a great pressure on the country at the EU's external border – over 74,000 have already arrived in 2016 with more than half arriving in Lesvos.
"We have sent staff members to Greece who speak Farsi and Arabic to enhance our ability to provide information. We are working in a very particular setting where the persons of concern are on the move. Fortunately, we have significant experience in all phases of the refugee process which is a great help in this situation," says Heather Amstutz.
The Danish Refugee Council is working closely with the Ministry of Migration and UNHCR in the Moria registration center. Additionally, DRC is supporting the local Greek organization, Aitima, who provides legal counseling to refugees in Athens. The work is funded by various foundations, UNHCR, DFID via the START network and DRC’s own funds.