Migration and Home Affairs

Project WASH - improving hygiene facilities in the temporary facility on Lesvos

Tuesday, 13 July, 2021

After fires destroyed Moria camp in September 2020, the temporary facility was set up in record time to accommodate 10 000 residents. Providing washing and hygiene, or ‘WASH’, facilities became an urgent priority.

Tap stations and hot water showers 

After the Swiss Humanitarian Aid set-up the basic water provision system, in October the Red Cross took over the general responsibility for project WASH. The Red Cross extended and improved the scope of the project, and added greywater tanks to increase the capacity and functioning of the water system. Project WASH was financed by the German Red Cross. 

Water tap station at Mavrovouni facility

Shower and toilet facilities in the temporary facility on Lesvos


They set up 16 water tap stations and shower stations. First, with cold water only, based on water trucking and tanks, as no connection to the water grid was possible in such a short time. Since December, 155 hot water showers are now functioning.  A NGO complemented the work and provided hot water showers not relying on trucking of hot water, but heating it up directly in the shower stations. 

Water tank providing showers with water

Water tank providing showers with water

A close involvement of camp residents 

The Red Cross set up a system to manage shower facilities together with camp residents. More than 130 volunteers help daily to monitor individual shower times, and to maintain the shower stations clean. The volunteer team holds daily briefings making sure the system runs smoothly.   

Some residents created pictograms and drawings on sanitation rules and advice.  

Washing with soap

A drawing giving advice on skin cleaning

Ongoing works  – connection to local water grids 

Since April 2021, the overall management of the system has been taken over by UNICEF and a specialised NGO. The ongoing project to connect the temporary facility to the local sewage and water grids is led by UNICEF and IOM, with the funding of €8 million provided by the Commission. The German Red Cross also contributes for the part of the water grid and its connection outside the camp to the local grid, with its own funds. This wil result in a major imporevement of hygiene conditions for the camp residents, until the new reception centre on Lesvos is ready.

Constructions works for the sewage system in Mavrovouni

Constructions works for the sewage system in the temporary facility on Lesvos