IN SEPTEMBER OF 2020, a catastrophic fire broke out in moria camp leading to over 13000 refugees and asylum seekers being left without shelter on the streets OF LESVOS.

In the aftermath of the horrific fires, the R4R team on Lesvos began conducting emergency response operations and all projects previously running in Moria were ceased. Teams of dedicated volunteers began distributing food to thousands of men, women and children in collaboration with various actors on the island. As one of the main actors working in Section A protected area of Moria camp, R4R also supported the identification and safe relocation of male unaccompanied minors – many of whom were evacuated from the island within the following days. 

After a week living on the streets without safety, shelter or the provision of essential items, local authorities transferred Moria camp residents into a new temporary reception and identification centre (RIC). Initially supporting other actors in the new RIC, R4R has since established new projects in advance of the harsh winter weather for which the camp location is particularly vulnerable. Our current priority is to support the camp community to improve living conditions, while also distributing essential non-food items especially to those who are most vulnerable. Read about our current and past projects below:


Our team on Lesvos operates a Free Shop within the new camp, providing essential NFIs primarily to infants and vulnerable populations. The Free Shop enables a more dignified method of distribution, with beneficiaries being able to choose from a range of items. Currently, this project operates on a weekly basis with both visiting and community volunteers supporting the stocking, maintenance and operation of the space to ensure there is a calm and welcoming environment at all times. 


R4R’s vulnerable population support team conducts frequent assessments to understand the needs of certain demographics. Once the assessment has been completed, we work alongside our partner organisations to provide referral pathways or where possible deliver specific non-food items that will provide a positive impact on those who are most vulnerable. 

Our teams also work to improve conditions in areas of the camp that can provide significant challenges for individuals with mobility issues, such as building bridges or ramps into shelters. R4R has installed four chemical toilets for people with special needs, access to which is provided through our partners to beneficiaries and their families. 


Starting from January of 2021, we established a workshop to provide furniture items to camp residents and enable our community volunteers to gain skills in woodwork and construction. The workshop operates from our warehouse, where materials are pre-cut before being transported to our operating base in the new camp. In camp, volunteers assemble the items prior to distributions taking place primarily to vulnerable populations such as elderly residents and beneficiaries with limited mobility. 


Affectionately named ‘Habibiland’, our Lesvos based warehouse acts as a NFI hub receiving donations from all around the world. Thanks to our frequent donors, we’re able to support our own Free Shop and vulnerable population distributions as well as providing items to various actors working on Lesvos and to other locations across Greece. 

If you would like to send a donation of items, please visit the contact us page. 


Post the catastrophic fires in Moria camp, we began winterisation efforts in Mavrovouni RIC. Our core activities included the distribution of tools to enable camp residents to prepare shelters for winter weather, repairing and replacing tents when required, while installing tarps and supporting the digging of trenches to ensure adequate drainage systems prevented significant flooding.


In March of 2020, we constructed 20 isolation rooms to be used in the event of an outbreak of CV-19 in Moria camp. This facility became operational in September, with R4R team members present 24/7 to manage, maintain and provide support for residents in quarantine. Mandala quickly reached full capacity after the first positive case was recorded, and R4R oversaw the opening of a secondary isolation site. 


To reduce the need for mass-gatherings at the main food line servicing the whole of Moria camp, we built a new food line for the residents of Zone 12 where over 2000 people were sheltered. Meals were distributed on a daily basis for breakfast, lunch and dinner from our team of community and visiting volunteers. Our team also provided deliveries for residents unable to attend the food line. 


For three months R4R’s Section A team supported around 170 male unaccompanied minors (UAMs) living in the protected area. Daily activities included food distribution, facilitating laundry cleaning and supporting the maintenance of the section. Our volunteers provided positive role modelling and worked alongside partner organisations providing weekly activities.


The removal of waste from Moria camp has been a significant challenge due to severe overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure. To support the removal of waste from the olive groves, R4R teams would collect and remove trash weekly and supported the hiring of a local company to clear our the river which had become hazardous for surrounding residents.


In Zone 12 of Moria camp, we constructed 30 bell tents housing approximately 300 people in shelters better prepared for the harsh winter weather. The land was levelled, pallets and recycled dinghy material utilized for flooring, and each tent erected at a safe distance from nearby shelters to ensure evacuation pathways and improved standards of living conditions.