Ministry of Interior and UNHCR strengthen collaboration in refugee crisis

The Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction (Alternate Minister for Migration Policy) and UNHCR are strengthening their collaboration for the provision of accommodation and assistance to the refugees who are currently in Greece, a joint news release said.

On Wednesday, 20 April, the Alternate Minister of Interior for Migration Policy, Yiannis Mouzalas, chaired the 1st Steering Committee meeting of the organizations funded by the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) with €83 million, to improve the living conditions of the refugees in Greece. Following the agreement of the Alternate Minister of Interior for Migration Policy and in cooperation with him, UNHCR will assist in coordinating in the provision of the above assistance to the country. During the Steering Committee meeting, the Alternate Minister of Interior for Migration Policy noted that the priorities of the Greek authorities include the decongestion of Idomeni, the port of Piraeus and Elliniko; the overall improvement of the living conditions at the sites in the mainland and the islands; the care for unaccompanied minors; as well as the increase in the capacity of the Asylum Service.

On Thursday, 21 April, a new site in the area of Lagkadikia opened its doors to refugees. Located approximately 45 km east of Thessaloniki, the site will eventually host 1,000-1,400 people. The Ministry of Migration Policy in close cooperation with UNHCR manage and already operate the site. Partner organizations will gradually assume the provision of services like interpretation and medical assistance. The UN Refugee Agency is also working to facilitate access to the asylum procedure for the people staying on the site. The first transfers of people to Lagkadikia took place from Idomeni and Polykastro on Thursday afternoon and transfers continue almost daily.

In view of the pressing accommodation needs, UNHCR is also supporting the Greek authorities’ reception scheme, through the provision of hotels, in addition to the progressive availability of apartments for asylum seekers. Besides, in the more than 30 sites already established by the Greek authorities, UNHCR has been providing support through the deployment of camp management experts, through technical assistance, provision of transitional shelter solutions, as well basic relief items and services.”

Photo: ©UNHCR/Giorgos Kyvernitis