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Regional Bureau for Europe: Greece Update # 11 Lesvos (4 December 2020)

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**UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is supporting the government-led response after a series of fires destroyed the Reception and Identification Centre in Moria (Lesvos) on 8-10 September.

UNHCR has scaled up its support for all asylum-seekers affected and urges for comprehensive and humane solutions to address overcrowding on Greek islands.**


Two months after fires swept through the Moria Reception and Identification Centre, nearly 7,300 asylum-seekers and refugees are sheltered in the Mavrovouni site, which was swiftly set up to host those affected. The fires had left some 12,000 people homeless, of which many were transferred to other accommodations.

The Greek authorities led the response with the support of UN agencies, including UNHCR, as well as international and national NGOs and volunteer groups.

In addition to the planned technical interventions to improve living conditions in Mavrovouni, UNHCR continues to call for comprehensive solutions and European support and responsibility-sharing.


According to the Hellenic Coastguard, a boat carrying 34 Somalians capsized off the coast of northeastern Lesvos in the early hours of 2 December. Thirty-two people were rescued but two women perished. UNHCR assisted in the reception of the survivors, facilitated the provision of core relief items and helped identify people who are at increased risk due to their particular situation. UNHCR’s partner Médecins du Monde offered healthcare and psychosocial support. The tragic incident is evidence of the perilous journeys that men, women and children make to reach safety. Recently, the body of another person was recovered after a boat partially sank while attempting to reach the island of Rhodes on 23 November. Thirteen people survived.

Greek authorities have recorded 101 new arrivals to Lesvos in November and 4,495 since the beginning of 2020, far fewer compared to the same period last year.
In 2019, 4,088 persons arrived to Lesvos in November alone and 23,591 between January and the end of November.