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Greek Police arrest five refugees for fires in Moria

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Greek security forces two unaccompanied minors and three adults have been detainedAll of them of Afghan nationality, for their alleged responsibility in the fires that destroyed last week the Lesbos refugee camp, in which some 12,000 people lived.

The Minister of Civil Protection, Michalis Chrisochoidis, has confirmed in statements to the public channel ERT the arrest of these five suspects, “young migrants”, and that the Police still trying to find a sixth person. According to police sources, their asylum applications had been rejected, reports the DPA agency.

The authorities would rely for their investigations in the images captured by security cameras in the area, as well as in the statements of several witnesses, reports the Greek newspaper ‘Kathimerini’. The fires would have started as a result of the isolation order for more than thirty coronavirus patients.

The Government, in collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has set up a temporary camp to welcome the around 11,000 migrants who have spent several nights in the open after the destruction of Moria, waiting to study a medium and long term measure.

UNHCR has already provided some 600 tents which, as of Monday, housed about 700 people. The agency also collaborates in the preparation of a temporary space to welcome migrants and refugees, with an eye on those who are in the most vulnerable situation.

However, he has stressed that it is only a provisional measure, remembering that it must be bet “for long-term solutions, with continuous European support and shared responsibility.” UNHCR has recalled that both the reception centers on Lesbos and those on other Aegean islands are saturated and in better conditions.

The organization trusts that the Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the European Commission be a “new beginning” for the EU and lead to “fairer and more efficient asylum procedures, solidarity and shared responsibility among States. Thus, UNHCR hopes” that this opportunity will be seized.

“The priority must be to meet the immediate needs of migrants and refugees, but more sustainable solutions are needed”

The director general of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino, has spoken along the same lines, since although the “priority” must be to attend to the “immediate needs” of migrants and refugees, “more sustainable solutions are needed” that pass, among other issues, for European solidarity.

The first gestures of help have been addressed to 400 unaccompanied minors who were evacuated from Lesbos in the hours after the fires, but Vitorino recalled in a statement that “many other children and families need this life preserver”, therefore he has urged governments to mobilize to “decongest” the islands and help the Greek authorities.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer agreed on Tuesday that Germany host about 1,500 migrants from the camps of refugees in Greece, according to what the DPA agency has learned.

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