INTERSOS began its intervention in Greece in early 2016 by activating mobile teams consisting of operators and mediators in the reception camps established in the area between Thessaloniki and the Macedonian border.
Right now, we are one of the implementation partners of UNHCR under the program E.S.T.I.A., and we operate with two bases: one in Salonika and the other one in Ioannina. With a capacity of almost 750 beds, we manage apartments and buildings in the urban areas where we are based, and we also run a bigger structure, ‘’Agia Eleni’’, which is specialized in the assistance of the most vulnerable. We provide protection, hygiene and information services in Agia Eleni, with the objective to build proper practices and methods that could be applicable also in urban contexts. Providing, therefore, a long-run reception example that is designed to host refugees into structures, in favour of integration and communication between cultures.
It distributed essential goods and identified the most vulnerable cases such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled, to ensure their dignity and protection. As the crisis stabilized, the intervention focused on the general management of the camps, as in the case of the Agia Eleni camp, and on the creation of local entities to manage community services, in coordination with local Greek associations and groups of migrants. This gave the immediate aid activities a tone of integration and communication between cultures.
PEOPLE SUPPORTED IN AGIA ELENI (2017)
PEOPLE SUPPORTED WITH HOUSING INTERVENTIONS IN SALONIKA (2017)
ASSISTED PERSONS (2017)
NUMBER OF PROJECTS (2017)
Over the course of 2015, the Syrian crisis resulted in an extraordinary flow of refugees to Europe, the vast majority of which crossed Greece and the Balkans, headed for northern Europe. Following the closure of the border with Macedonia and the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the rejection of refugees arriving to the Greek islands, some 50,000 people have been stuck in Greece, where they will have to remain indefinitely.
The last months of 2016 have involved the creation of shelter accommodations replacing the old camps. This process, other than facilitating the progressive emptying of the camps present in the continental Greece, has allowed to gradually relieve the Greek islands. The shelter structures, being temporarily hosted in hotels, have been transferred in different structures, such as apartments in urban areas. With the departure of many international actors, which operated in order to mitigate the emergency, it is necessary, now more than ever, to focus the interventions in the long-run, by involving the local authorities and the civil society to build a reception system that is able to receive new arrivals even after the end of the crisis. 91% of these refugees are fleeing from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, countries affected by conflicts, and are therefore entitled to refugee status under international conventions. 60% are women and children, fleeing from conflicts and violence.
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