Despite the harsh winter conditions, the flow of refugees and migrants from Turkey into Greece remains high. Every day, between 2 000 and 3 000 people land on Greek islands and they need basic emergency assistance.
The European Commission and EU Member States have been supporting Greece in managing the continuing arrival of refugees and migrants by providing emergency assistance items and equipment.
It is against this background that two cargo planes carrying relief items to help refugees cope with the winter conditions landed last week in Athens. This new delivery of assistance was made possible by the United Kingdom that provided the winter equipment, and the European Commission that facilitated the operation via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and covered 85% of the transport costs.
Last week's airlifts delivered 1 000 winterised tents and close to 9 000 wool blankets to refugees and migrants in Greece.
During recent months, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and most recently Greece have requested and received in-kind assistance – sleeping items, personal protective items, heat, electricity, lighting and more – through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Via the Mechanism, the Commission coordinates the delivery of relief materials to support Member States and neighbouring countries facing major peaks in the Refugee Crisis that overwhelm their immediate response capacities.
In addition, the Commission has supported Western Balkans countries – which serve as transit countries for refugees – with humanitarian funding.