25 July 2017

Athens – The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has released a new report today highlighting the drastic deterioration of the care and protection for vulnerable people in Lesbos who have fled from violence and wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and further afield.

“Vulnerable people are falling through the cracks and are not been adequately identified and cared for,” says MSF head of mission Emilie Rouvroy.

Greece, Lesbos
He arrived in Lesvos in July 2016. He has been in Moira for 7 months. Photo by: MSF

The report, A dramatic deterioration for asylum seekers on Lesbos – based on MSF medical data and testimonies of patients – describes the recent drastic cuts in health provision on the island, which is also accompanied by reductions in legal aid as well as the closure of shelters and other essential services.

“Four times as many people arrived on the islands between April and June 2017, while the capacity of the medical actors to identify vulnerable people has dramatically reduced,” says Rouvroy. MSF is calling for the scaling up of health care on the islands.

Greece, Lesbos
Aiful 25 years old from Bangladesh prepares food inside a large accommodation tent. Photo by: MSF

The data reveals the real vulnerability of asylum seekers in Lesvos – with 80 percent of mental health assessments meeting MSF’s criteria of severity.

Two-thirds of MSF’s mental health patients were victims of violence before arriving in Greece, one-fifth had been tortured, and approximately half of the women MSF saw for gynecological checkups have been victims of sexual violence.

Greece, Lesbos
Karon, his wife, and their two twins are blocked in Lesvos since their arrival on August 2nd, 2016. Photo by: MSF

New arrivals are now sitting in Lesbos’ Moria camp in soaring temperatures. They are neglected, and tensions are high with sporadic violence.

“They're difficult, overcrowded living conditions, the complicated legal system, and their deep medical suffering are compounded by an often deep loss of home, family, friends and the violence of the journey many refugees have made,” says MSF Advocacy Manager Louise Roland-Gosselin, who analyzed the project’s data. “The alarm bells are ringing now.

Find out more about MSF's work in Greece.