IFRC appeals for 3 million Swiss francs to assist vulnerable migrants in Greece

Published: 2 September 2015

Geneva / Athens, 2 September 2015. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched a 3 million Swiss francs (2.7 million euros) emergency appeal to support the Hellenic Red Cross scale up its assistance to the thousands of people moving through Greece.

The number of people arriving on Greek shores by boat in the first eight months of this year have soared by 750 per cent compared to last year’s figures in the same period.  

“The Hellenic Red Cross is assisting those in greatest need at ports of arrival on the eastern islands, in particular on Lesbos and Kos,” said Angelica Fanaki who is responsible for Hellenic Red Cross International Relations. “Distribution of relief items has been scaled up in recent days, however resources are insufficient to respond to the unprecedented needs. Increased support and collaborative action from all corners are urgently needed to continue providing relief to these vulnerable people. In parallel, Hellenic Red Cross shall continue providing its humanitarian services all over the Greek territory in support of vulnerable groups in Greece.”

In August arrivals reported in Greece exceeded 200,000, mainly on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Samos where the Hellenic Red Cross volunteers have delivered food, water, hygiene kits and baby kits to over 2,400 people.

The emergency appeal will help the Red Cross reach 45,000 vulnerable migrants with food, water, hygiene kits and other essential goods. It will also support emergency health assistance, re-connecting family members and psychosocial support among other humanitarian activities.

The IFRC head of country cluster for Western Europe, Seija Tyrninoksa, said: ”We are scaling up our response to meet the needs of the increasing number of people who are arriving in Greece on a daily basis. The difficult and perilous journey they undertake to seek safety and refuge, adds to the suffering of those who have experienced violence, the loss of loved ones or seen their homes destroyed. It is our collective responsibility to stand ready to help them.”

On Friday, 4 September, Tyrninoksa will be part of a joint mission to Kos organized by the Greek government to assess the humanitarian situation on the island and support the Hellenic Red Cross operations. The group will also include the First Vice President Timmermans and Commissioner of Migration Avramopoulos of the European Commission. 

The IFRC and its member societies are focused on meeting the humanitarian needs of migrants. National Red Cross Societies are providing vital humanitarian assistance to thousands of people on the move along the Western Balkans migratory trail which links Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, and beyond.

Tackling the vulnerabilities of migrants is a humanitarian imperative and must be taken on as a collective responsibility. 

For further information, please contact:

In Athens/ Kos/ Lesbos:

▪       Angelica Fanaki, international relations/communication department, Hellenic Red Cross

E-mail: angelicafanaki@gmail.com ¦ Mobile: +30 693 6695925

▪       Thomas Andre Syvertsen, IFRC emergency communications                      Email: Thomas.Syvertsen@redcross.no ¦ Twitter: @ThomaSyvertsen ¦ Mobile: +47 4022 5381

▪       Oscar Velasco  – (English, Spanish), IFRC emergency communications                        Email: ovelasco@cruzroja.es ¦ Twitter: @ovelascob ¦ Mobile: +34 618 780 883

In Budapest:

▪       Stephen Ryan, IFRC emergency communications

E-mail: stephen.ryan@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @stiofanoriain ¦ Mobile: +36 70 430 6500

In Geneva:

▪       Benoit Carpentier, team leader public communications, IFRC

E-mail: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @BenoistC ¦ Mobile: +41 79 213 2413

▪       Reeni Amin Chua, public communications, IFRC

E-mail: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @reeniac ¦ Mob: +41 79 708 6273

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.