Greek police arrest five people for fire in Moria refugee camp

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The Greek police have arrested five people on suspicion of involvement in the fire in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, local police said on Tuesday.

Migrants refuse to enter temporary camp

The authorities are still looking for a sixth person, according to the Minister of Security, Michalis Chrisohoidis. How the arrested people would be involved in the fire has not been disclosed.

Several fires broke out in the refugee camp in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. The fires left thousands of migrants without shelter.

The camp had long been experiencing what aid organizations have called “inhumane” conditions. Since the collapse of the deal with Turkey, whereby EU member states would accept one Syrian refugee for every migrant who took in Turkey, the camp has become severely overcrowded. Almost thirteen thousand people lived, while the camp was designed for three thousand inhabitants.

The camp had been severely quarantined for the past six months due to the corona crisis. A week before the fire, the camp was almost closed to the outside world, because a corona case had been diagnosed for the first time. At the time of the fire, 35 infections had been confirmed, after which the government announced that it wanted to isolate people who tested positive.

The Greek news agency ANA reports that an unknown number of migrants rebelled against these isolation measures and started fires in protest. However, the cause of the fires has not yet been officially determined.

A temporary tent camp has now been opened on Lesvos with space for about five thousand migrants. However, many migrants refuse to enter the new facility. The refugees fear that they will have to live in the temporary camp under the same conditions as in Moria and want to leave the island. Currently, only 1,000 people have moved into the temporary camp, according to the Greek government.

The cabinet announced in a letter to the House of Representatives on Thursday that it was prepared to accept a total of 100 refugees from the burned camp if the Greek government comes with a request. Germany is also prepared to accept refugees. The country says it has room for 1,500 migrants.



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