On 30 September 2020, Greece has 121,100 migrants and refugees – 98,200 on the mainland and 22,900 on the islands. Reception centres on the islands are overcrowded and conditions are deplorable with many refugees living in inadequate tents or in makeshift accommodation. Medical assistance and WASH facilities are lacking. Women and girls face difficulties in safely accessing services. The five reception centres on the Greek islands designed for 5,400 people hosted more than 30,000 people over the summer.
The Reception and Identification Centre of Moria and the olive groves around it were burnt to the ground after 6 hours of fire on 08.09.2020. More than 12,000 people – mostly families and children – were left homeless. Thousands, including women with babies, children, elderly, sick and disabled, fled in panic.
A new temporary site was set up by the Greek authorities who took overall responsibility for the management and coordination of the humanitarian aid, with the support of UNHCR and other international organisations. The new site of Kara Tepe (Mavrovouni) is located on a former army firing range, next to the sea, on the main road connecting the town of Mytilene with the village of Panagiuda. The new camp was set up in record time and is huge: it has a capacity of more than 10,000 people (the largest in Europe). However, there are serious pitfalls, such as regular electricity and water supply problems that have not yet been resolved, making conditions in the camp extremely difficult, especially in view of the upcoming winter.