Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Greece is a major entry point for refugees and migrants making the journey to Europe.
Nearly 80 percent of the 950,000 plus people who have reached Europe by sea in 2015 arrived through Greece.
MSF in Greece 2014
Prior to the current refugee crisis, six straight years of recession beginning in 2008 reduced the economy by about a quarter of its previous size and drove unemployment to record levels.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in Greece in 1991 providing healthcare for people otherwise excluded.
Today, our attention is focused towards Greece’s Dodecanese islands – the islands where many refugees first make land in desperate conditions – and on the border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Mohammed, 26, from Afghanistan
“I already spent 4,000 dollars to smugglers to bring me here. It was money that I had saved over six years from running the pharmacy and I also borrowed some money.
"I have given about 1,000 dollars to my family to survive in Afghanistan. After this, I will go to Athens and then God will decide where next.
"It’s better to go out of Greece because it’s the poorest country in Europe so we need to go further. But you have to pay lots of money for that, and I don’t have any left, so I will have to try and do it on my own.”
MSF’s work in Greece: 2014
Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Greece in 2014, many on their way to northern Europe.
In Evros region, MSF provided medical consultations and psychosocial support to people being held at detention centres in Komotini and Filakio, and in the police stations of Feres and Soufli.
Nearly 600 relief kits were distributed to help people maintain a basic level of hygiene, health and dignity.
In March, these activities were handed over to EKEPI.
In 2014, more than 42,000 people – almost 80 per cent of them from Syria – crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Dodecanese Islands.
Many were forced to sleep outside or in overcrowded police cells while waiting to be transferred to the Greek mainland, as there were not enough suitable facilities to host them.
Towards the end of the year, MSF launched two emergency interventions, providing medical care and distributing more than 2,000 kits containing sleeping bags and hygiene items such as soap.
In September, in collaboration with two Greek organisations, MSF opened a project in Athens offering medical rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, for asylum seekers and migrants who have been victims of torture.
Find out more in our 2014 International Activity Report.
At the end of 2014, MSF had 10 field staff in Greece. MSF has been providing medical assistance in the country since 1991.