Refugee crisis: Switzerland sends tents and beds to Greece

Bern, 29.10.2019 - Swiss Humanitarian Aid has launched two aid operations to alleviate the plight of refugees in Greece. Some 600 family tents and other winter equipment have been dispatched to Lesbos Island. Last week, 500 beds from the inventory of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) were transported to Greece by lorry.

From Monday to Wednesday, 600 winter tents to provide shelter for around 3,000 people will be loaded onto six vehicles in Bern and transported to Greece. The delivery also includes blankets and insulating mats. There is urgent need for this material since the winters on the Greek islands are rainy and cold. The tents will be used to expand the Moria transit camp on the island of Lesbos. Over 13,000 people are living in very difficult conditions in this camp whose infrastructure is designed for just 3,500.

The situation in Greece has worsened this year since the arrival of larger groups of migrants. More than 10,000 people arrived in Greece in September alone. Owing to the problematic circumstances in the reception camps on the Greek islands, tensions between migrants have been rising for some time, leading to unrest.

In view of the urgent need for action, Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), has decided to make a further contribution to help alleviate the suffering. Last week, 500 beds and mattresses from the inventory of the DDPS were transported to Greece on three lorries. In Athens, they will be handed over to the Greek army, which will ensure their onward transport to various initial reception centres.

Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been active in Greece since the start of the refugee crisis in 2015, providing both aid supplies and financial contributions, e.g. to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Finally, Switzerland has seconded experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to Greece to support local authorities and coordinating entities. SHA experts are also accompanying this recent consignment of tents.

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