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Migration and Home Affairs
News article1 February 2022Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs2 min read

New Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos

WASH facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos
Project WASH containers with toilets, showers and sinks, November 2021

New showers and toilets are now installed at the temporary reception centre on Lesvos guaranteeing clean, safe water and sanitation to residents.

This project was fully funded by the European Union with more than €9 million granted from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Special contributions to project WASH were also made by the German Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and through Swiss Humanitarian Aid. These organisations provided the first hygiene and wash facilities to the temporary reception facilities on Lesvos in September 2020, before project WASH was officially launched.

WASH facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos
Water sinks installed under project WASH

A water system connected to the local grid

Continuous on-site works over the last nine months to improve the accommodation and reception buildings in the temporary centre have resulted in 405 containerised showers and 675 toilets.

The new facilities are part of an internal water and sewage network that is connected to the local grid of Mytilene. After final water sample tests and protocols were approved, the first showers and toilets were opened to the residents on 24 November 2021. The new system of showers and toilets will replace the existing chemical toilets and shower cubicles functioning from water tanks.

WASH facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos
Shower with hot and cold water

Enough capacity and separate areas for men and women

There are now 11 WASH facility locations across the temporary centre, each with designated areas for men and women, securely separated to ensure safety and privacy. Toilets and showers are also equipped with ramps to ensure easy access for people with disabilities.

WASH facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos
WASH facilities for women

Following the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA) standard for access to WASH facilities, the new system provides enough showers and toilets for up to 5,000 to 6,000 residents. As of December 2021, 2,100 people live in the centre, two of the locations will remain closed to avoid deterioration and maintenance requirements.

WASH facilities in the temporary reception centre on Lesvos
Toilets with ramp for people with movement disabilities

Running and organisation of WASH facilities

The opening of the new facilities marks a major improvement of living conditions in the temporary centre. The management of the facilities continue to be supported by two non-governmental organisations – Movement on the Ground and Watershed, with community volunteers to ensure proper use and ownership by the residents. Maintenance and cleaning will be provided by the facility maintenance contractor of the reception centre. Costs of running the new system will be substantially cheaper, as water trucking and desludging will no longer be needed.


Publication date
1 February 2022
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs