IFRC

Greece: IFRC Secretary General calls for increased response to humanitarian and health needs for vulnerable migrants

Published: 3 November 2015

Athens/Geneva, 3 November 2015 – More must be done to respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants in Greece and across Europe as the scale of humanitarian needs increase, urged Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the end of a two-day visit to Greece.

“Deteriorating health on the migratory route is a major concern. The chain of immunization for children is broken, people on the move are exposed to many health challenges. We have a double duty to respond to humanitarian needs and basic health needs,” said Mr Sy. “We need – the Red Cross and Red Crescent, governments and humanitarian partners – to maintain our efforts and respond effectively and efficiently, to save lives and protect people’s dignity.”

More than 600,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, making it the primary entry point into Europe for vulnerable migrants. The Hellenic Red Cross has been responding to the needs of people since the onset of the emergency, supporting people as they arrive on islands, as they transit through Athens, and as they continue their journey north.

The Secretary General met with the leadership of the Hellenic Red Cross, and visited the Eleonas accommodation centre in Athens where the Red Cross is delivering relief items. He praised the response of the Red Cross and its volunteers.

“The Red Cross volunteers and staff who I met are tremendously dedicated, and are treating people with empathy and care,” he said. “In a complex context they are demonstrating every day a commitment to our humanitarian principles. Volunteers are however overwhelmed, and we all must do more and do it faster to respond at the level which is commensurate to the magnitude of the challenges.”

Dr. Avgerinos, President of the Hellenic Red Cross, said that: “The places where humanitarian needs are greatest shift on any given day. We are constantly adapting our response to evolving needs and are committed to a flexible, long-term approach. We count on the support of the IFRC and express appreciation for the help we have received from the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to enable our humanitarian response.”

On 23 October, the IFRC quadrupled its Emergency Appeal for Greece, and is now seeking 12.6 million Swiss francs to support the Hellenic Red Cross in reaching 200,000 people with a range of interventions including first aid, emergency medical care, psychosocial support and search and rescue services.

During his visit, Mr. Sy met with Dr. Ioannis Mouzalas, Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy; Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Dr. Andreas Xanthos, Minister of Health; and Minister of Labour: H.E. Mr. Yiorgos Katrougalos. They discussed the ongoing situation and the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The Hellenic Red Cross and the IFRC are working closely with the Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, the Ministry of Health and authorities to ensure a coherent response.

Across Europe, more than 25,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are providing support and protection to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people on the move. The IFRC has launched six country-specific Emergency Appeals totalling over 70 million Swiss francs to aid these efforts.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has launched a call to make universal the responsibility to protect vulnerable people and respect their dignity in any place, under any circumstances, regardless of their legal status: Sign the petition at www.ifrc.org/protecthumanity. Help make the responsibility to #ProtectHumanity universal.

 

For further information, please contact:

Linda Low, communications manager - Europe, IFRC
E-mail: linda.low@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @linda_low ¦ Mobile: +36 70 953 7704

Benoit Carpentier, team leader - public communications, IFRC
E-mail: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @BenoistC ¦ Mobile: +41 79 213 2413

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies . As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright