13th July, 2017.
Reconstructed Diavata Anagnostopoulou refugee camp in Thessaloniki welcomes the donors and officials in an opening ceremony on July 13th
Within the project called Support to Refugees in Greece through Integrated Shelter Model Rapid Mobility Solution (ISM – RMS), implemented by ASB Regional Office Greece, the official opening of reconstructed Diavata Anagnostopoulou refugee camp took place on July 13th, 2017.
Diavata Anagnostopoulou is recognized as the bright example of how refugee camps should look like, in order to provide the most dignifying conditions for the people moving from the conflict zones in search for peace. This camp is now home to around 400 people, and it will have more residents in the nearest future. All the people live in fully equipped longer term housing units, with two separate rooms, bathroom, solar boiler, kitchen with fridge and small cooker, wifi and TV connection. Apart from the shelter segment, this project has two other dimensions also funded by EU emergency support: the provision of primary medical care, as well as psycho-social support, legal aid and informal educational activities, implemented by ASB’s partners WAHA International and ARSIS respectively.
The opening event was attended, among others, by Mr Andreas Gkougkoulis, Secretary General for the Reception, Mr Sakellaris Hourdas, European Commission’s representative, Mr Walter Stechel – General Consul of Germany in Thessaloniki, Mr Knut Fleckenstein – member of European Parliament and Chairman of the Board at ASB Germany and Mr Ulrich Bauch – General Manager at ASB Germany.
The aim of the event was to show a good example of the reception and life of refugees. Although people do not know yet about their future, the renovated camp gives them a dignified shelter to find back a certain level of normality.
Only last year, around 170,000 refugees arrived in Greece, and although the country was not prepared to welcome such a large number of people, as stated by Mr Mouzalas previously, with the help of the European Commission, German Federal Foreign Office and other actors, Greece manages to constantly improve the reception conditions of the refugees arriving.
Mr Andreas Gkougkoulis, Secretary General for the Reception, said: “Only 13 months ago, together with the Ministry of Defense, we set up this camp with tents for accommodation of 2.000 people. After that the winter and problems occurred, but we managed to successfully overpass them and this is what we all witness today”.
From Athens, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece, Mr Panos Carvounis, said: “I am pleased to see that EU funding is enabling refugees in Greece to regain a sense of normality and stability in their lives. The European Commission will keep working hard with its humanitarian partners, in coordination with the Greek authorities, to ensure refugees in the country live in human and dignified conditions”.
Mr Walter Stechel – General Consul of Germany in Thessaloniki said: “This was the first camp I saw when I came to Greece and I personally have witnessed the transformation of this camp. We are very proud of ASB, as German organization and its great work internationally, together with Caritas Germany and Caritas Hellas, whom we financed to provide 50 housing units for this camp. Another important note is that European solidarity has to go beyond financing, and that is why resettlement and relocation is of such a great importance”.
Mr Knut Fleckenstein, member of the European Parliament and Chairmen of the Board of ASB Germany said: „Today we testify the success of coordinated efforts and the synergy of right actions of all the non-governmental organizations present in the camp, together with the Greek government. ASB would not be able to succeed without the support of our donors, European Commission and German Federal Foreign Office. Driven by our moto – “We help here and now”, ASB will continue providing help in Greece, as fast as possible, as long as necessary, representing continuity and reliability”.
Visitors had the chance to see 156 housing units, among which those specifically adopted to accommodate people with disabilities, and continuation of works in the camp, where by the end of the year will renovate the existing structures and provide living space for unaccompanied minors, educational space and praying room.
ASB is a non-political and non-denominational charity and relief organisation. We help all people – regardless of their political, ethnic, national and religious affiliation.
ASB started its operations in Greece in response to the Refugee crisis which hit this part of Europe during 2016. The main office for Greece is located in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. ASB has been actively involved in the provision of humanitarian aid since the beginning of the refugee crisis through the implementation of humanitarian aid projects in Germany, Slovenia, Serbia, FYRoM and decided to expand its activities to Greece upon the outbreak of the crisis in this country. The ASB Greece office has officially been opened in June 2016.
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The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.
Jelena TESIC, Visibility and Communication Manager of ASB regional office Greece
(Tel.: +30 6998262175, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carlos MARTIN, Commission Spokesperson
(Tel.: +32 229 65322, email: Carlos.MARTIN-RUIZ-DE-GORDEJUELA@ec.europa.eu)
Christina WUNDER, Commission Press Officer
(Tel.: +32 229 92256, email: Christina.WUNDER@ec.europa.eu)