Operation: Opération: Greece



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2017 planning figures
88,000 asylum-seekers will be provided with information on refugee status determination procedures 
88,000 people of concern will be reached through the “communication with communities” programme
30,000 refugees will be assisted through cash-based interventions
20,000 accommodation places will be made available on the islands and mainland
500 unaccompanied or separated children will be provided with appropriate care and accommodation 
6 child and family support hubs (“blue dot hubs”) will be maintained 
2015 end-year results
 6 safe spaces for mothers and children were established  on the mainland and the islands
14,800 children benefitted from recreational and psychosocial activities
144,300 refugees were provided with core relief items including some 181,000 winter items such as warm clothing and thermal blankets
3,200 accommodation places were made available in 314 Refugee Housing Units, 101 family tents and nine prefab/rub halls on islands and mainland
342,700 individuals received information on government status determination procedures through information sessions or individual counselling
1,600 visits were conducted in over 40 distinct arrival points to ensure safe access to territory and monitor registration procedures

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR


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  • 2015
  • 2017

Year-end Overview

Plan Overview

Working environment

The operating environment in Greece has changed significantly since 2015, with the number of arrivals decreasing from 856,700 in 2015 to some 163,700 between January and August 2016. With the closure of borders along the Balkan route in March 2016, many people arriving in Greece have expressed their intention to seek asylum in Greece or apply for family reunification under the Dublin Regulation. By September 2016, only 5 per cent of the targeted 66,400 asylum-seekers had been relocated from Greece to other European Union countries since the programme began in November 2015. 

The Government of Greece assumes the overall leadership and coordination of the response to the refugee situation. An inter-ministerial coordination body has been established for the response. In addition, there are other coordination structures at the national and sub-national levels. The Government is responsible for registering and processing asylum claims. The local population and civil society have demonstrated generosity and solidarity towards refugees, and are playing a key role in providing assistance to refugees and migrants. 

Although progress has been made, significant challenges related to reception and registration capacity remain. In response, UNHCR and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) supported the Greek Asylum Service in carrying out a pre-registration exercise to ensure that people of concern in Greece have the opportunity to pursue available legal options. Reception capacity for refugees that have applied for the European Union relocation scheme on the islands and the mainland was increased from 2,500 places in April 2016 to some 10,500 places by the end of the August 2016. 

In 2017, UNHCR will continue to work towards the establishment of additional reception places and to progressively substitute in-kind assistance with cash-based assistance. In particular, UNHCR plans to make available 20,000 reception/accommodation places for EU relocation candidates and vulnerable asylum-seekers on both the mainland and on islands, out of which at least 90 per cent of will meet international minimum standards. A lack of funding may hamper UNHCR’s ability to achieve this target. 

Key Priorities

In 2017 UNHCR’s operation will focus on:

•    improving infrastructure at open accommodation sites, including transit facilities for unaccompanied children;
•    establishing and further improving referral mechanisms for vulnerable individuals, asylum applicants, medical cases and others with specific needs to relevant services;
•   strengthening community-based protection interventions in open accommodation sites and implementing peaceful co-existence projects benefitting refugee and host communities;
•    supporting partners to establish informal education activities through logistics support, as well as advocating with Greek authorities for refugee children to have access to schools;
•    implementing a cash-based assistance programme targeting 30,000 refugees;
•    strengthening legal aid and counselling on the asylum procedure, family reunification and the relocation programme;
•    maintaining “blue dot hubs” to ensure the provision of key services for children and families, including child-friendly spaces, psychosocial support and legal counselling, and safe areas to sleep for women and children; and
•    preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence by improving referral of survivors to appropriate services on the islands and mainland.