Children in need of support as wildfires rage across Greece - UNICEF

Since July 2023, multiple wildfires across the country have claimed the lives of 27 people, including two children

29 August 2023

ATHENS, 29 August 2023 – Two children, both of whom were asylum seekers, are among 27 people who have lost their lives since wildfires broke out across Greece in July, considered to be the largest wildfire disaster in the European Union since 2000.

Children and families have lost their homes, livelihoods and access to basic services. Many are distressed and some are experiencing health issues due to air pollution caused by the fires. As flames progressed toward a medical facility in northern Greece, 11 newborns were among patients in intensive care who were moved to a makeshift hospital on a boat.

The unprecedented disaster has affected the lives of more than 100,000 people, including an estimated 30,000 children across the country, and destroyed more than 155,000 hectares of forests, crops and urban areas so far – an area twice the size of New York City.

“Children are deeply distressed by the fires," said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Greece. "They have lost their homes, families have lost their livelihoods, and some have lost their lives. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with all those affected and all those responding."

UNICEF’s Country Office in Greece is coordinating with national and local authorities and civil society partners to support children and their families. This includes providing medical supplies, basic necessity items and psychosocial support.

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Notes to editors: 

UNICEF – Merimna: Psychosocial support instructions for parents/ caregivers and educators

How the public can support:

  • For supporting UNICEF’s emergency response and psychosocial interventions for children and families affected by the wildfires please click here. 
  • For immediate donation of medical supplies, addressing the needs of vulnerable people and people affected by wildfires, visit the official website of UNICEF’s partner GIVMED and follow the instructions here.

Media contacts

Olga Siokou –Siova
UNICEF Refugee and Migrant Response in Greece
UNICEF Greece
Tel: +30 211 2340 297
Georgina Diallo
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Tel: +41 76 320 68 14

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