Athens-A Greek human rights activist and a Greek volunteer rescue have been jointly awarded this year’s Nansen Refugee Award for their efforts to aid refugees arriving in Greece.
“Konstantinos Mitragas on behalf of the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and Efi Latsoudi from “PIKPA village”, a community-run accommodation area on the Greek island of Lesvos were both chosen for their tireless volunteer work during the 2015 refugee crisis on Greece’s shores: the HRT for their round-the-clock efforts to save refugees and migrants in distress from the sea, and Efi Latsoudi for her compassion and care for the most vulnerable refugees and migrants arriving on the island of Lesvos,” the U.N. Refugee Agency said.
“Both the Hellenic Rescue Team and Efi Latsoudi refused to stand by as they witnessed the dramatic humanitarian situation unfolding on their shores, and are fully deserving of the Nansen Refugee Award,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said in a news release on the win.
Over 850,000 people arrived in Greece by sea in 2015 with more than 500,000 of these arriving on the island of Lesvos. In October 2015, arrivals peaked at more than 10,000 per day, as conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq continued to uproot people from their homes. Sadly, over 270 people died in Greek waters over the year.