Greek authorities accused of leaving refugees short of food

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Oct 18, 2021, 11:30 PM(IST)

A refugee camp in Greece (File) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Over two weeks after the Greek state took over from the UN refugee agency, the task of handing out EU cash assistance to asylum seekers in Greek camps have not received their support. This includes nearly 36,000 people

Greek authorities have been accused of excluding refugees and asylum seekers from food and cash assistance by various rights groups. This is because of tough policies and poor planning.

"Though practices differ from region to region, it is roughly estimated that 60 per cent of people living in camps do not receive food in the mainland," the 26 organisations, including the Greek Council of Refugees and the International Rescue Committee, said in a statement.

"Among those left hungry, 25 per cent are women (including pregnant women), single-headed families, 40 per cent are children, chronic patients, and patients with special medical and nutritional conditions. In some places, food is not even provided to those put in quarantine due to COVID 19," they added.

The task of handing out EU cash assistance to asylum seekers in Greek camps have not received their support, over two weeks after the Greek state took over from the UN refugee agency. This includes nearly 36,000 people.

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"In an attempt to cover this gap, asylum seekers have been receiving portions of food, reportedly of very poor quality and often not fully cooked," the right groups said. 

In response, the migration ministry said "All asylum seekers in camps on the islands and mainland have the right to food" and received three meals daily.

The ministry further highlighted that this does not include refugees who "must leave" the camps, while migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected "are obliged to leave the country."

The authorities also insisted there was "no delay" in payouts to camp residents, which will be received at the end of October.

The exact number of refugees and asylum seekers currently in Greece is unclear. 

A planned nationwide census that comes out in the end of the month is expected to help clarify the issue, the UN refugee agency's representative in Greece, Mireille Girard, said last week. Girard said the latest estimate of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece is around 96,000.

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