This report is an update to initial reporting on the situation on Lesvos (Displacement in Lesvos 22/09/2020) and provides greater detail regarding the risk of COVID-19 in camps. Between 8 and 10 September, fires broke out in three different spots in the Moria Reception and Identification Centre (RIC), Lesvos, resulting in the displacement of more than 12,000 inhabitants.The fire also destroyed a COVID-19 medical facility and interrupted all medical services for the refugees. NGOs have repeatedly raised concerns about the potential for fires in overcrowded camps after a six-year-old girl was killed in Moria and after 200 people were displaced in Samos when part of the camp burned down.
On 9 September fires broke out in three different locations inside the Moria Refugee camp, resulting in displacement of all its inhabitants across the island of Lesvos. The Moria camp is one of Europe's largest refugee camps. Although its official capacity is only 2,600 it was estimated to be hosting approximately 13,000 refugees before the fire broke out.
ACAPS and the Mixed Migration Platform have produced a new set of Middle East–EU migration scenarios, outlining possible developments in migration via Turkey and Greece over the next six months.
Following scenario-building workshops in Brussels and Antakya in January and February, five scenarios were identified:
- Continued restricted migration
- Number of asylum-seekers in Greece falls
- Number of asylum-seekers in Greece increases
- Increased returns to Syria
- Increased movement into Turkey
The report outlines triggers that could drive these scenarios, as well as the impact and humanitarian consequences of each scenario.
This scenario document provides a description of situations that could occur in the coming six to nine months, with their associated humanitarian consequences. The aim is to support strategic planning, create awareness and promote preparedness activities for those responding to this crisis.
In October 2015, ACAPS undertook a scoping study to better understand gaps in information and analysis in the context of the asylum-seeker crisis in Europe. One of the key priorities that emerged from the consultation with humanitarian stakeholders was the need for scenario building, outlining possible developments and anticipated impact on the transit countries over the next six to nine months. At the end of October, three workshops in Athens, Belgrade and Geneva were held to develop and validate these scenarios. See the methodology section for more information on the scenario building process.
As of 16 November, close to 820,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015, including 673,916 to Greece, 142,400 to Italy, 2,797 to Spain and 105 to Malta. 85% of the arrivals are from the world’s top ten refugee-producing countries. 52% of the refugees are from Syria, 10% from Afghanistan, 6% from Iraq. As the sea route to Italy via North Africa is longer and more risky, and as the number of Syrians has increased, more people are travelling through Greece and then through the Balkans to reach northern and western Europe. The main pattern of movement is from Greece to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) northwest through Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia towards Austria and Germany.
Greece has received the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in decades and, several months after the start of the crisis, the rate of people arriving continues to grow. Despite the onset of winter, the movement is not expected to decrease, and UNHCR anticipates up to 600,000 arrivals between November 2015 and February 2016. Very few recent arrivals are pursuing asylum in the Balkan countries.
Humanitarian needs are driven by obstacles at the borders, overcrowded and expensive transportation, long waits for registration, tensions between host communities and refugees, the risk of exploitation by smugglers, as well as inadequate assistance and shelter. Local and international capacities are under strain, and the arrival of winter is expected to exacerbate needs.
The closing of various borders in Europe is placing a further strain on the situation, and could result in people being stuck in transit facilities, leading to overcrowding.
Over 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees have made their way towards Europe by land and sea in 2015. As the sea route to Italy via North Africa is longer and more risky, and as the number of Syrians have increased, more people are traveling through Greece and then through the Balkans to reach northern and western Europe. The main pattern of movement is from Greece to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in a northwestern route through Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia towards Austria and Germany.
As of 5 November 2015, Greece had received the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in decades, with over 656,108 people arriving by sea in 2015. The arrival of 210,265 in October alone marks a 2,729% increase compared to October 2014. Over 93% come from the world’s top 10 refugee producing countries; over 60% are from Syria. However, this is a significant under-estimation as only about one-third of refugees and asylum seekers are reportedly registering on arrival to transit countries, according to UNHCR. Very few recent arrivals are pursuing asylum cases in the Balkan countries.
The humanitarian needs are driven by obstacles at the borders, overcrowded and expensive transportation, tensions between host communities and refugees, long waits for registration, the risk of exploitation by smugglers, as well as inadequate assistance and shelter. Local and international capacities are under strain, and the arrival of winter is expected to exacerbate needs.