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UNHCR welcomes the creation of a new temporary accommodation site at Eleonas

19 August 2015

© A.Kitidi
Five-year-old Melina from Afganistan is staying at the temporary accommodation site in Eleonas

The UN Refugee Agency today expressed its satisfaction for the creation of a new temporary accommodation site at Eleonas. The site constitutes a positive step in the efforts to provide dignified accommodation to new arrivals. 

“At a time when the pace of arrivals in Greece is steadily increasing, the construction of the site covers an important gap. It constitutes a positive example of speedy action and efficient coordination among different actors. It can serve the need for basic shelter and services provision, for as long as it is necessary, provided that a series of issues related to its sustainability, including funding, are adequately addressed,” said Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, Head of the UNHCR Office in Greece. 

With a capacity of nearly 700 people, the site contains numerous prefabricated houses with private toilets and air-conditioning, gathering areas and a playground for kids. Food provision, medical services and psychosocial support are offered by representatives of the central and local authorities, NGOs, volunteer groups and refugee communities. 

During the construction of the site, UNHCR supported the authorities with site-planning expertise. Currently, the Agency provides information to new arrivals, including on asylum procedures and family reunification. It also assists the authorities with the identification of vulnerable individuals and with interpretation services through its partner METAction.

UNHCR underlines that such endeavours should be accompanied by continuous and serious efforts, under a strategic planning at central level, to improve access to asylum procedures, significantly increase reception capacity, improve conditions for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors, and offer better integration prospects of refugees in the country. European institutions and member states should support Greece in these efforts. UNHCR remains at the disposal of the Greek authorities to assist in achieving these goals.

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