Since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the number of refugees who have fled to Greece has grown to more than 60,000 . The UN Refugee Agency estimates 5.4 million people have left the country in search of safety. Short staffing of medical clinics and low stocks of supplies in severely overcrowded caps has led to poor access to medical care, and worsening of pre-existing conditions, as well as new health problems
A new Airlink partner in 2017, Mobile Medics International team members traveled to Lesbos, Greece in January – a time when medical professionals are in short supply – to provide care to refugees living in the Kara Tepe and Moria camps. Ultimately, the team committed 400 volunteer hours and helped approximately 3,000 people gain access to medical care in January 2018.
In February 2016, Airlink also worked with International Medical Corps to address shortages in medical care. International Medical Corps and its local partner, PRAKSIS, initiated their operations in October 2015 on the Greek islands of Samos, Leros, and Kos with the goal of providing vital medical and psychological care to refugees and migrants, the majority of whom are women and children. Thanks to the support of Nippon Cargo Airways and Airlink, who together provided lift for more than 8,000 pounds of hygiene materials for infants and children, International Medical Corps’ work has improved the basic care and local infrastructure for refugees in these camps.
In addition, the group deployed paramedic response teams in Lesvos to deliver basic emergency first aid, warm blankets, clothes, and water to refugees and migrants as soon as they arrive on the shore. They also established a new water, sanitation, and hygiene programs where 1,794 diapers and 500 bottles of body wash/shampoo were distributed, provided psychological first aid training to Greek first responders, provided 192 solar-powered lights to refugees for their temporary homes, and pre-positioned more medical supplies near displacement sites in Athens and Idomeni.