Malakassa camp January 2017
The refugee camp at Malakassa, a one-hour drive north of Athens, opened in April 2016. It can host up to 1500 people. However, its current population is 483 men, women and children, according to the latest figures of UNHCR. Most of them are coming from Afghanistan.
Conditions in Malakassa have been extremely difficult this winter, as it has been particularly cold and the camp was originally not adapted to cope with the low temperatures and snow of recent weeks. In mid-December, containers replaced the tents where refugees were living, however the process of winterization of the camp (including providing heating) took longer than expected.
Doctors of the World has been working there since May 2016; offering primary health-care, social support and gynaecological services. The team consists of doctors, social worker, nurse, data collector, midwife, a driver and many interpreters. The project is funded by the European Commission.
Our team has developed a strong relationship with the community in Malakassa; based on trust and respect. Every day, men, women and children visit our clinic in order to receive treatment, for check-ups, or just to say hello. This woman and her 10-year-old daughter (pictured, below) visited us, because the girl was suffering from ‘flu..
With the harsh winter and the poor living conditions, our doctors have noticed a significant increase in ‘flu and respiratory infections. There are always people waiting to be examined in the waiting area installed outside the clinic.
All around the camp, children play, their voices reminding us the reason people are here, and what they’ve been waiting for, for so long: better future for their families…
Photos by Achileas Gabrielides