Lemar* is a 23-year-old women who fled Afghanistan with her children and husband due to heavy fighting between extremist groups in their city.

Spike in number of refugees fleeing to Greek islands

A dramatic increase in the numbers of refugees arriving to the Greek islands is creating high levels of overcrowding, leading to squalid living conditions.

Arrivals to the islands are now at their highest rate since March 2016.

Trapped in refugee camps, up to 16 people are forced to sleep in five-person tents while babies have to sleep on the floor.

This level of overcrowding puts children at immense risk. There have been reports of violent outbreaks in some camps, including abuse against children.

Staying in such harsh conditions causes long-term psychological damage for children, such as feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, depression and self-harming.

Why is this happening?

At the moment arrivals are at their highest rate since March 2016 – up to 200 people a day. Fleeing dangerous war zones such as Syria and Iraq, around 40% of the arrivals are children.

The processes in place to help people move on from the refugee camps can be incredibly slow. This means that many are stuck there for long periods of time, causing overcrowding.

Almost 10,000 people are now living in areas that have a capacity of just over half this amount. Many children who live there have been separated from their families or are unaccompanied, putting them at even greater risk.

Shayid, four, came to Greece with his family, withhis two sisters and brother. They became trapped on the islands after the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was closed.

We need continued funding to reach children

The Greek islands have an increasing need for humanitarian aid. At the start of August the Greek Government took responsibility for funding and management of services provided to asylum seekers on these islands.

While we support this, it’s vital that there’s continued support for the people who are living in refugee camps while this transition takes place.

We’ve seen a deterioration in the quality of services such as food and healthcare that are available. Children and their families are becoming worried about the future, wondering if they will have the things they need to survive in the coming weeks and months.

That’s why we’re calling on donors and the Greek government to make more funding available to help vulnerable refugee children currently residing on the Greek mainland and islands.

Children need your help. Please show your support today.

Leave a Reply


  • Ageliki Politis

    I am very interested to help refugee children trapped in Greek islands to be given a home.
    Ageliki Politis

  • Hi Ageliki, it is very kind of you to want to adopt a refugee child living in the Greek islands.However at Save the Children we focus on improving the conditions of children without parental care through empowering and strengthening families, family tracing & reunification, family based-care, and improving the quality of children in alternative care. We have worked with government ministries in some countries to review their national care guidelines and we believe that countries should ratify the Hague Convention on International Adoption to help with transparency and accountability of all the actors involved. In an emergency situation it is very difficult to establish family-links (for example whether or not the child is an actual orphan or has been separated from his/her family) and therefore not the time for new adoption proceedings to begin. I am unsure of other agencies looking specifically at the issue of transparency in international adoption, but I would refer you to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and the website on the Hague Convention on International Adoption for more information. I hope this is helpful. Yvette

  • Diluxcy Rubakumar

    I am interested to help children please give me a one opportunity for me it is my dream

  • Hi Diluxcy, thank you for reading our blog. For more information about Save the Children’s employment opportunities which are based all around the world then please visit https://www.savethechildren.net/jobs . Thanks, Yvette.