The Hellenic Red Cross is focusing on covering the basic need of refugees coming to its borders, including immediate relief at entry ports and as refugees move throughout the country, including providing basic food and non-food items, health care, first aid, psychosocial support, hygiene promotion, and restoring family links. Greece has seen a marked rise in refugees coming to its shores. These people are fleeing armed conflict, widespread violence and/or serious violations of human rights. From January to May 2015, more than 36,000 people were registered with the Greek authorities. By August 2015, 200,000 migrants were registered as having arrived to Greece via Turkey. As the land border between Greece and Turkey has become more difficult to cross, those seeking Greece come via sea borders between the two countries. Many arriving find themselves on Greek islands, including Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Crete, Rhodes, and Kos on a daily basis. These arrivals strain the resources in these locations because they often lack basic services for such population movements. This project takes place on the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Chios, Samos, Lesvos, and Crete, and throughout the country and its transfer and exits points. Athens acts as a transfer point, and exit points include Idomeni, close to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia border.
Migrants face many insecurities upon coming to shore in Greece, and the Hellenic Red Cross distributes warm meals, water, and essential non-food items, including those for winterisation. Hygiene kits are also handed out to prevent the spread of sanitation-related diseases, and those separated from their families can find their way back using family tracing and messaging services. Migrants also often lack adequate information on rights and other basic information to make healthy decisions for the future, thus a critical component is also listening to their voices and understanding what their real needs and plans are. Psychosocial support is given with particular emphasis on children, and the Hellenic Red Cross’ capacity is strengthened through seeking skilled volunteers, trainings, and ensuring its branches are adequately equipped for emergency response.
This project seeks to reach 200,000 migrants, supporting their humanitarian needs, and prioritises the following groups: people arriving by boat or rescued from the sea in need of urgent assistance and medical care, people with special needs (unaccompanied minors, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases etc.), and women and children.