MSF emergency clinic after Moria fire
Asylum seekers and refugees continue to arrive in Greece in search of safety, only to find themselves stranded indefinitely in the country.

Since the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016, migrants and refugees previously in transit through the Greek islands have been trapped for an indeterminate time in Reception and Identification Centres and Closed Controlled Access Centres. 

Our teams provides medical and mental healthcare to migrants in Athens and on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos. Our activities include sexual and reproductive healthcare, treating chronic diseases and providing care for survivors of sexual violence, psychological support and health promotion activities. On the islands of Lesvos and Samos we also provide emergency medical assistance to people in distress once they arrive by boat from Türkiye.

Our teams on Lesvos 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 and the Greek authorities to completely change their 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”

 
Three people found handcuffed, four injured on the Aegean island of Lesvos (MSF)
Greece

People found handcuffed and injured on the Greek island of Lesvos

Press Release 25 Oct 2022
 
Emergency Medical Aid (EMA) for new arrivals in Samos, Greece
Greece

Fear, beatings and forced returns for people seeking safety on Greek island of Samos

Project Update 9 Aug 2022
 
AS-DRC-girls-web
Safe abortion care

A revolution in safe abortion care

Opinion 28 Sep 2021
 
Samos new centre
Greece

“We can only help our patients to survive” new camp on Samos

Opinion 17 Sep 2021
 
Mariam*, a woman originally from Afghanistan, who lives in Lesbos for two years.
Greece

One year on from Moria fire, EU denies dignity to migrants trapped on Greek islands

Project Update 10 Sep 2021
 
EU failed containment model Report
Greece

Greece and EU must change approach to migration as scale of people’s suffering revealed

Press Release 9 Jun 2021
 
Samos island
Mediterranean migration

Constructing Crisis at Europe’s Border

Report 9 Jun 2021
 
MSF response to Moria Fire
Greece

Open letter to Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner of Home Affairs

Open Letter 29 Mar 2021
 
Harin Halil
Greece

Alarming mental health distress among asylum seekers on Greek islands

Project Update 17 Dec 2020