NEW YORK (August 29, 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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For more information please contact:
Jenna Buraczenski, UNICEF USA, (917) 720-1432,