FIRE DESTROYS GREECE’S LARGEST REFUGEE CAMP


10/09/2020




İrem UZUN -TDO- Several fires have mostly destroyed the Moria refugee camp, home to more than 12,000 asylum seekers in Lesbos Island. Some 40 firefighters battled the blaze at the Moria camp as migrants, many suffering from smoke exposure, fled. Greece's migration minister said the fires "began with the asylum seekers," but did not elaborate. Police blocked roads from the camp to prevent migrants entering nearby towns. There are no known casualties so far, authorities are investigating reports of arson.

Fires broke out in more than three places in a short space of time, local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos told state television channel ERT. Some protesting migrants hindered firefighters who tried to tackle the flames, he said. The main blaze, which was initially fanned by high winds, was put out by Wednesday morning, although Theofilopoulos said there were still some small fires burning inside some containers at the site. Some locals reportedly attacked and prevented migrants from passing through a nearby village after they fled the flames.

The Moria facility, which hosts more than 12,000 people - more than four times its stated capacity - has been frequently criticized by aid groups for poor living conditions. The camp had been placed under quarantine last week after an asylum-seeker tested positive for COVID-19. As of late Monday, 35 migrants had been confirmed as having the virus. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said the European Union had agreed to fund the immediate transfer of 400 unaccompanied children and teenagers to the Greek mainland.


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