During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Municipality of Ioannina has assisted all vulnerable social groups in the area, including asylum seekers, recognized refugees and Roma.
In order to be sufficiently prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Municipality of Ioannina implemented a series of actions and initiatives through the newly-established Centre for Social Care and Solidarity – a Centre which has been considered a best practice in the context of the Council of Europe’s network of Intercultural Cities.
In this context, a helpline was created, and through a cooperation with the “Help at Home” programme, provisions such as food, personal protective equipment, medicinal products, psychological and medical support were available to vulnerable citizens without a supportive framework, both natives and migrants.
Additionally, the Dormitory for the Homeless as well as the Shelter for Victims of Gender-Based Violence provided support and accommodation to migrants who found themselves homeless during COVID -19, while information sessions were organised for migrants and refugees.
Specifically, in cooperation with the Hellenic Police, information was given regarding protection measures, both at the Katsikas Refugee Camp and at the structures for Unaccompanied Minors. At the same time, information material was sent in various languages to services supporting refugees as well as to companies employing a significant number of migrants. On a daily basis, the Municipal Radio transmitted multilingual messages regarding preventive measures.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen everyday heroes from all walks of life, coming to the forefront. This crisis has shown to us that we are stronger when we are united.
Moses Elisaf – Mayor of Ioannina
(World Refugee Day: 20 June 2020)