Opening of two accommodation facilities for migrants and refugees in northern Greece
Tuesday, 13 June, 2017
Greece - Two fully renovated accommodation facilities located in Serres and Drama, in northern Greece have opened their doors, providing shelter to more than 1000 migrants and refugees.
Minister for Migration Policy (MMP) Ioannis Mouzalas, Regional Response Coordinator of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Gianluca Rocco and Chief of IOM Mission in Greece Daniel Esdras were present for the opening ceremonies of the accommodation facilities, under the auspices and the supervision of the Ministry of Migration Policy. The facilities have been fully renovated by IOM, with funding from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
The first migrants and refugees have moved into the renovated facilities since the beginning of April 2017. The accommodation centre of Serres consists of 94 accommodation units, with overall capacity to host up to 650 people, whereas the one in Drama consists of 70 apartments for almost 400 people in total.
IOM is assisting the Government of Greece in Site Management Support (SMS). More specifically, through the appointment of IOM Facility Coordinators and Interpreters in each site, IOM supports the Camp Manager with the site’s daily management and organization of activities and services.
A full range of other services are being provided by IOM staff, such as: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Non-food Items (NFI), Shelter, Transportation of children to the public schools, Psychosocial Support (PSS), Legal Counselling, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence/ Trafficking (SGBV/THB) identification and case management, Recreational Activities, Community Mobilization, Population Mapping.
A number of actors, such as Médecins du Monde, UNHCR, IFRC, Caritas, Solidarity Now and Save the Children are also present covering primary health, cash assistance, recreational activities for children, support with Asylum Service, etc.
“The opening of the facilities in Serres and Drama is another step forward in the strategy developed by the MMP for managing the migration flows that were and are affecting Greece. These facilities will ensure temporary accommodation as well as access to services at a high level of standards. Having worked in the Southeast Europe region I can confirm that the levels achieved by the MMP with European Union emergency support funding in these camps are at the highest range. IOM is very glad that this partnership with MMP and the European Commission and the local communities has been able to produce such a positive impact on the living conditions of migrants in Greece and looks forward to continue working on this path”, said Gianluca Rocco IOM’s Regional Response Coordinator.
“I remember this region when we first came here and the great help we received by the local community amidst difficult conditions. Today, you can see for yourselves the difference 8-9 months after the evacuation of the makeshift Idomeni camp. These are decent accommodation centres for people who deserve dignity, and this dignity is a reflection of the Greek people. We wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of the local authorities at any level or without the love of the local population and the help of the army and the police. All that you see here did not happen by chance. It happened thanks to government planning, EU funding and the help of the International Organisation for Migration and other partners. However, the burden was carried mainly by IOM. As long as the agreement between the EU and Turkey stands, meaning that the flows will not increase, there will be a constant improvement”, said the Greek minister for Migration Policy, Ioannis Mouzalas.
From Brussels, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: "The opening of these two new accommodation centres today reflect the European Union's determination to continue improving the living conditions of refugees and migrants in Greece. The renovation of these facilities has been possible thanks to the efforts of our humanitarian partner IOM, and our fruitful cooperation with Greek authorities",
Funded with EU Emergency Support, the programme is part of the Multi-sectoral Assistance to and Protection of Migrants and Refugees Stranded in Greece programme.
For further information, please contact:
Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel. +30 210-9919040 ext 248, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Spokesperson of EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, Tel.: +32 229 65322, email: Carlos.MARTIN-RUIZ-DE-GORDEJUELA@ec.europa.eu; Daniel Puglisi, Press Officer for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Tel.: +32 2 296 91 40, email: Daniel.PUGLISI@ec.europa.eu