OVERLOOKED AND UNDER-EQUIPPED: The forgotten island of 4,000 refugees

PRESS RELEASE: Call for Support


  • Almost 4,000 asylum seekers currently reside on Kos

  • The camp has quadrupled in size since January 2019

  • Current service providers are unable to meet basic needs

  • No international volunteer groups operate on the island


As the number of asylum seekers stuck on the Aegean Islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos reach record highs, one island is being worryingly forgotten.

Kos, an island of 30,000 permanent residents and popular as a holiday destination for North European tourists, is now hosting thousands of refugees, recently arrived on boats from Turkey.

With an asylum-seeking population that has quadrupled since the start of 2019 and a hotspot camp 300% over capacity, the current government and NGO-run services providing basic services are failing to meet the new increases in demand.

Last week, representatives from Action for Education (AFE), a non-profit providing non-formal education in Chios, Samos and Athens, visited Kos to understand the situation in greater detail.

During the visit, AFE spoke with camp management officials, asylum seekers and local solidarity groups to assess the current situation and most pressing needs.

It is noteworthy that whilst some operational aspects of the camp indicate higher standards in procedure and resident wellbeing compared with other hotspots, the standards on Kos are currently jeopardised by the sharp increase in numbers.

The camp is situated in the centre of the island, approximately 30 minutes by car and 3 hours walking from the main town. A bus service to the main town costs €4.20 return.

In conversation with camp residents, the reported that accessing medical care was next to impossibleAFE noted that the one medical container was visible in the camp entrance, but not operating and didn’t appear to function on a regular basis.

Kos is unique as a island with no volunteer-run organisations (with the exception of Kos Solidarity) operating on the island. As such, there are massive gaps in legal counselling, community spaces and psychosocial support, NFI distribution and medical care.

Action for Education urgently calls for an increase of support for asylum seekers stuck on Kos island, to safeguard lives and uphold basic standards in human rights.

Any individual, group or organisation wishing to find out more about the situation are encouraged to reach out to AFE to discuss further.

For more information on the situation and to receive a full version of Action for Education’s field report, please email info@actionforeducation.co.uk