Greece: Urgently protect refugees in Moria

The fires that burned the refugee camp in Moria have left thousands sleeping rough and with little access to essential services, like water, food supplies and medical care. Many may have lost the few belongings they had left, including valuable documents supporting their asylum claims.

Older people, people with chronic conditions, children, pregnant women, new mothers and people with disabilities are among those in urgent need of help.

The Greek Government must take immediate measures to provide humanitarian relief and move asylum seekers to safety.

The living conditions for refugees and asylum-seekers in the overcrowded hotspots of the Aegean islands have been inhumane for years. At the time of the fire, the Moria camp population was 12,500 people, despite an official capacity of under 3,000. Sanitary facilities were in very short supply, medical care was inadequate, and overcrowding made observing hygiene standards and other preventative measures, like social distancing, impossible. During the past week several people in the camp had tested positive to COVID-19, sparking fears about the well-being of residents.

The decongestion of Lesvos and other Greek islands must become a priority for the Greek authorities. EU member states should significantly increase the number of asylum-seekers they relocate from Greece and end the policy of containment on the islands.

Greece, with the help of the European Union, must act immediately to protect the lives of those affected by the fire in Moria and ensure humane conditions for all residents in Greek camps.

Take action now and send a message to Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, urging him to:

• Urgently provide humanitarian relief to the residents of Moria camp, including emergency shelter, medical assistance, including for Covid-19 testing and treatment
• Prioritize the decongestion of camps on the islands by stepping up transfers to mainland Greece and relocations to other European Union member states
• Ensure that measures implemented fully respect the dignity of residents and refrain from undue restrictions on residents’ rights and liberty

Key Facts

70.8 million

people have been forcibly displaced due to conflict, persecution or natural disasters.


of the countries hosting the largest number of refugees are in Sub-Saharan Africa

25.9 M

refugees globally


refugees need resettlement right now


of refugees are hosted by developing countries