Spanish Red Cross hands over health clinics on Chios and Samos

Publié: 9 février 2016 18:11 CET

By Caroline Haga, IFRC

Chios and Samos are two of the islands that since last summer have seen tens of thousands of people arrive on their shores in search of safety. When numbers peaked in the autumn, the Spanish Red Cross stepped in with medical staff and experts in psychosocial support to support the Hellenic Red Cross (HRC)and 66,000 migrants.

In 2015 more than 120,000 migrants arrived in Chios and a further 70,000 in Samos. Basic needs such as food, water, clothing and bedding were desperately needed. But psychosocial support for adults and children, as well as emergency medical care were also paramount.

Side by side to support vulnerable

Over four months from October 2015, clinics manned by Spanish Red Cross medics and HRC volunteers treated thousands of patients awaiting registration on both islands. In addition, specialised staff and volunteers supported children from being further traumatized by providing safe spaces where they could draw, play and interact.

“The Hellenic and Spanish Red Cross worked side-by-side  at the health clinics and the child-friendly spaces, supporting each other and learning together,” said Spanish team leader Raquel Bernedo Pardal.

Her colleague Irene Blazquez added: “Despite being overwhelmed both by the country’s economic difficulties and the thousands of arrivals, HRC staff and volunteers have shown incredible determination to support vulnerable people arriving in Greece.”

Vital service set to continue

The Spanish Red Cross has now donated both clinics and the child-friendly spaces on Samos and Chios to its HRC colleagues who will continue to provide the vital services with specialists from Greece.

“It has been a great experience. Full of humanity, learning and interacting with great professionals dedicated to helping people who need it most,” said Raquel.