Danish Refugee Council expands to mainland Greece

The European Commission has today released more than 80 million euros for humanitarian assistance in Greece. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) will receive 8 million of these, and the organization can now expand operations in Greece to include the mainland, where DRC in five different locations will assist the Greek authorities in improve conditions for the refugees who are stranded in Greece.

Danish Refugee Council has today received 8 million euros from the new Emergency Assistance Instrument, under the European Commission, which will help to improve conditions for some of the around 50,000 refugees stranded in Greece. DRC will be supporting the Greek authorities through the provision of accommodation, water, food, blankets and hygiene to the many vulnerable refugees, who are stranded in Greece due to the agreement between the EU and Turkey as well as border closures along the so-called Balkan route.

"There are around 50,000 people stranded in limbo in Greece and we are now witnessing refugee centers within Europe's borders. Many of these people are families with small children and it is vital that we now have the opportunity to assist these. We will among other services or provisions ensure that they will be getting meals each day. Greece has in recent years been faced with a huge task to handle the many refugees who have arrived in the country. It is a task that is far greater than one country can handle alone and therefore it is great news that the EU now takes action and provides support to the Greek authorities in their great work and we are pleased and proud that DRC is given the opportunity to contribute with our expertise," says Ann Mary Olsen, International Director for the Danish Refugee Council.

The task is an expansion of the cooperation DRC had with the Greek authorities on Lesvos, which was changed when the setup for refugee reception changed on Lesvos, as a result of the recent agreement between the EU and Turkey.

"We will continue the cooperation we had with the Greek authorities in the Moria camp on Lesvos, where we together had improved the situation for the many refugees. Many of these people need protection, and we will assist with this by among other services or provisions will be responsible for accommodation, delivering food and water and making sure that the general conditions for these vulnerable people are being improved," says Ann Mary Olsen

The EU-Turkey Agreement and the border closures many places in Europe have meant that the many refugees now are stranded in Greece. Danish Refugee Council calls - in addition to the humanitarian assistance – for additional pressure for various political solutions.

"It's a big problem that so many people are stranded without any real opportunities, while waiting in uncertainty. Europe and the Western world must put greater pressure on the parties to find political solutions - initially to the crises in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but we also have to stand together to ensure a dignified treatment and protection of refugees and migrants in Europe," says Ann Mary Olsen.