European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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EU Emergency Support for Refugees and Migrants in Greece: 1 Year On

A refugee child is receives an injection. Health programmes in Greece are funded by the EU emergency support regulation which has been in place since March 2016.
Having fled from a war-torn country, access to basic medical services for many Syrian refugees was a priority. The International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Arbeiter-Samariter Bund (ASB) and Médecins du Monde (MDM) are some of the EU's humanitarian aid partners who deliver basic healthcare for refugees and migrants stranded in Greece. © Médecins du Monde (MDM) 2016. Photographer: Kristof Vadino

This week marks the completion of the first twelve months since the EU emergency support regulation was adopted by the Council. To date, €192 million have been contracted to the Commission's humanitarian aid partners to help the Greek government in the refugee and migration crisis.

Key achievements under this programme include:

  • The provision of shelter for over 35 000 people, from tents in the initial stage to winterised containers;
  • The roll-out of a cash programme covering over 35 000 people* across 55 sites and in urban areas. This gave refugees and migrants a sense of dignity through choice, while supporting local economies and ensuring cost-efficient delivery of assistance;
  • The creation of 417 safe spaces for unaccompanied minors in dedicated facilities;
  • School transportation for more than 2 500 children and distribution of school-kits. Additionally, informal education activities have been provided to more than 9 000 children.
  • The provision of primary healthcare, specialised healthcare, psychosocial support and referral to hospital for more than 38 100 people.

The EU emergency support regulation was adopted by the Council on 15 March 2016 and empowers the EU to take a needs-based emergency response when an exceptional disaster occurs within its territory. The regulation aims to preserve life, prevent and alleviate human suffering and maintain human dignity.

EU emergency support is implemented by the Commission's humanitarian partner organisations, such as UN agencies, the Red Cross family and non-governmental organisations (NGO's) in the field of humanitarian aid. Where necessary, the Commission can also direct fund assistance, relief and protection operations to save and preserve life in disasters, or in their immediate aftermath.

*figure correct as of February 2017.

Publication date
16/03/2017