NRC suspends operations on Greek island of Chios

Norwegian Refugee Council halts activities on Greek island of Chios

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees get on a dinghy to sail off for the Greek island of Chios from the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme, in Izmir province, Turkey, November 4, 2015.

Updated Mar 24, 2016

A Norwegian aid group on Wednesday halted its activities on the Greek island of Chios after the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) announced it would no longer assist the transfer of refugees arriving in Greece.

The decision came ahead of a EU-Turkey deal which aims to cut the refugee flow across the sea to Greece.

According to the UNHCR, the deal was prematurely implemented without taking precaution to provide safety of refugees.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said on Wednesday that the centre on Chios, a Greek island close to the Turkish coast turned into a “detention centre” for this reason they decided to put an end their operation in the Island.

"Before it was an open reception and registration facility... Now it is a closed detention centre," said Dan Tyler, a protection adviser for the council.

The NRC decided to halt most of its work within the registration centre on the island, including direct distributions of water, blankets and clothes and maintenance of water and sanitation services.

"We are three days in now, and I think the situation, if it remains as it is for much longer, will be appalling from a humanitarian point of view," said Tyler.

Tyler complained about the situation of the centre saying that it is overcrowded. It has hosted 1,100 refugees who have arrived there since Sunday and 1200 people are already in the queue.

"We are extremely close to be in a position where this site is dangerously overcrowded ... We have a large number of refugees including pregnant women and children lying on the concrete floor in the reception hall," he said.

TRTWorld, Reuters