Extra medics drafted in to camps as risk of epidemics rise in Greece
The Red Cross is drafting in extra medics to Greece as hepatitis, chicken pox and lice infestations are reported on the country’s northern border. 

Clinics are being set up in several new camps to ensure migrants have access to basic health care.  In Idomeni, an average of 600 patients are seen per day by one medical team who treat everything from respiratory illnesses to injuries. Stitching wounds, treating broken bones and opening abscesses in a sterile field hospital surrounded by mud.

Red Cross medics there have reported that 80 to 90 percent of the patients they treat have bronchitis or pneumonia caused by the “squalid conditions”. The youngest patient suffering with bronchitis was just 14 days old.

Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, Liam O’Dwyer, said: “The current conditions for migrants in Greece pose grave risks to their health and well-being, including their mental health. It is vital that they receive professional care.”

In northern Greece, Red Cross medical teams are working in Idomeni as well as in three newly established camps that already house 10,000 people at Nea Kavala, Cherso and Diavata. Red Cross teams are also providing emergency supplies and focusing on hygiene and waste management in the camps.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent medical teams are being brought in to support the efforts at Piraeus port and at least one new camp in Ritsona.

 “Given the increasing health concerns, particularly among the thousands of children spending their days in wet clothes without proper access to hygiene and warmth, the Red Cross is increasing its efforts and bringing in extra medics from across Europe and beyond”, said Mr O’Dwyer.

Almost 60 per cent of the people who have been stranded in poor conditions in Greece for more than a month are women and children. The situation is particularly dire for the 11,000 people waiting in Idomeni at the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the 5,600 people at Piraeus port in Athens.  

In an effort to improve conditions, the Greek Government is establishing new camps and expanding existing ones, with a focus on the greater Athens region and northern Greece. Families stranded in Idomeni and Piraeus are being urged by authorities to move voluntarily to these more permanent facilities while applications for asylum are being processed. Despite these efforts, the situation remains serious.

The Irish Red Cross is continuing to support aid efforts in Greece and along the migration trail through its emergency Migration Crisis appeal. Donations can be made securely and quickly online at www.redcross.ie or by calling 1870 70 50 50.

ENDS

Note to Editor:

•    For further information, please contact Rebecca Dunne at the Irish Red Cross on 087 743 3275 / 01 642 4628 or rdunne@redcross.ie

•    Irish Red Cross Migration Programme Manager, Corona Joyce, will travel to the following camps/areas between Saturday 9th April and Tuesday 12th April:

o    Diavata Camp
o    Idomeni
o    Cherzo
o    Nea Kavala
o    Athens
o    Piraeus

•    For interviews with Ms. Joyce, please contact Rebecca Dunne (details above) to confirm.

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The Red Cross is drafting in extra medics to Greece

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