Children in SOS Village Penteli were evacuated as a precaution.
Greece – 31 July 2018

Supporting children impacted by Greece wildfires

SOS Children’s Villages is mobilising to support children and families affected by the devastating forest fires which decimated parts of Athens last week, killing at least 87 people and leaving countless missing.

George Protopapas, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Greece said: “In cooperation with the Greek government we are providing a social worker, psychologist and child psychologist who along with two mobile units will support the children and adults in the communities of Mati, Rafina and Kinetta.

“We are in further discussion with the government to provide this support for the children who have been harmed by the fire, and for the families that have lost their permanent homes.”

Concerns that the encroaching fire would present a danger to the 17 babies under SOS Children’s Villages care in the Penteli area of northeast Athens prompted the charity to initiate emergency evacuation plans. Thankfully, the wind direction shifted and spared the home.

No other SOS Children’s Villages programs in the region were affected by the fires and all children under SOS Children’s Villages care are safe.

SOS Children’s Villages has been working with children and at-risk families in Greece since 1975. They have expanded their work in the country in recent years in response to the financial crash and the child refugee crisis. Greece was hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, with two in five Greek children growing up in poverty.

Their child-friendly spaces in refugee camps on the island of Lesbos and Athens provide more than 400 children – many of whom have not attended school for months or years, with an education and psychological support. They also offer shelter to refugee children who have lost or been separated from their parents and are helping to reunite with their families.

SOS Children’s Villages is also working in Greece to provide:

  • A secure home in a family environment for children who have lost parental care 
  • Help for at-risk families – including parental counselling and social and emotional support
  • Temporary care for young children while struggling parents receive the support they need
  • Vocational training for young people to enable them to find employment

You can find out more information about SOS Children’s Villages emergency response work here.

Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at Lucy.Prioli@sosuk.org or on 01223 222 974.