This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2016 International Activity Report.
Until March 2016, thousands of people fleeing war and persecution were arriving on Greek islands every day before continuing their journeys across Europe. The closure of the Balkan route and the European Union (EU) deal with Turkey in March left migrants and refugees stranded without access to basic services, adequate shelter, or information about their legal status. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) shifted its focus from providing lifesaving surgery and medical care to addressing the specific needs of those stuck in unsanitary camps.
In 2016, MSF carried out 12,830 basic health care consultations across the island of Lesbos through its mobile clinics and inside Moria and Kara Tepe registration centers. In Matamados, in the north of the island, MSF ran a transit center for new arrivals. MSF halted all activities in Moria after the hotspot became a pre-removal detention center. MSF continued to provide medical and mental health care in Kara Tepe. In September, MSF opened a clinic in Mytilene town center and began outreach activities in Moria.
On Samos island, MSF provided basic health care for new arrivals at the port, as well as in the prison. MSF provided 18,700 meals in the Samos migrant camp and distributed tents and blankets before an official hotspot was constructed. MSF provided mental health services through 170 individual consultations and 249 follow-up consultations at the Samos hotspot. MSF also operated a shelter for vulnerable people on Samos through a local hotel.
MSF launched search and rescue activities off the island of Lesbos in collaboration with Greenpeace, assisting more than 18,117 people in 361 interventions between November 2015 and March 2016. MSF halted these activities in August.
In Athens, MSF operated three clinics for migrants and asylum seekers. Between February and December over 4,055 medical consultations were carried out there. An MSF psychologist also treated 152 patients and conducted 574 individual mental health consultations. In Kypseli, a team of psychologists, doctors, physiotherapists, social workers, and cultural mediators worked with local partners to offer interdisciplinary rehabilitation to victims of torture and ill treatment.
MSF offered basic health care in Eleonas camp, Korinthos detention center, and Piraeus port. In Elliniko camp, MSF provided sexual and reproductive health care and mental health support. At the height of the emergency, MSF teams distributed 6,600 meals and 9,660 blankets and provided over 1,680 medical consultations to migrants transferred to Attica. Teams offered mental health support to people living in dire conditions in overcrowded camps in Ritsona, Malakasa, Lavrio, and Aghio Andreas, and in Thermopiles, where sexual and reproductive health care was also available.
MSF helped thousands of people living in squalid conditions at the informal camp in Idomeni. Between January and June, MSF provided shelter, water, sanitation facilities, and medical care through 27,085 consultations. Services included basic health care, treatment for chronic diseases, sexual and reproductive healthcare, and mental health support. After the Idomeni camp was dismantled, teams offered mental health support in five camps around Thessaloniki.
MSF provided mental health services in Ioannina from April, and, until September, ran a mobile clinic offering basic health care to three camps in the area.
MSF conducted a vaccination campaign in Idomeni camp before it closed. Between July and September, a team also supported a Ministry of Health vaccination campaign against the 10 most common childhood diseases. The campaign targeted more than 7,000 children aged between six weeks and 15 years in more than 15 locations across Greece.