Lesbos island: a fire completely destroyed Europe’s largest refugee camp

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The fire, which started during a series of incidents among the migrants, devastated the Moria camp, where more than 13,000 people lived.

The Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, which is home to around 13,000 people, has been practically destroyed in an arson this morning after clashes between migrants.

So far there is no information on possible victims, but firefighters have not yet been able to access the tents and housing containers.

According to the mayor of the small town of Moria, Yiannis Mastroyiannis, the fire broke out after 35 people who had tested positive for coronavirus refused to be transferred to an isolation center.

From that moment they began clashes among the refugees themselves and some began to set fires, both within the enclosure and in the olive grove that surrounds the camp, where thousands of migrants live.

Mastroyannis explained, in statements to the Skai television network, that the fire is under control and the residents who fled are mostly in the vicinity of Moria.

After thousands of people who fled the camp started heading towards the capital Mytilene, the police blocking access to the city, located about 8 kilometers away, to avoid a health emergency, since the countryside was under quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Due to the strong winds, the flames spread rapidly and destroyed almost everything, especially the containers and tents.

The government manager for refugee camps, Manos Logothetis, claimed that the camp has been fully evacuated and that now the challenge is to find accommodation for the 13,000 people that inhabited it.

According to local media, the possibility of transferring them to a nearby beach is being considered until a solution is found.

The fire occurs a week after the appearance of the first case of COVID-19 in Moria, and a day after the health authorities confirmed that among the 2,000 people who had contact with the patient, 35 tested positive in the test and had to be isolated. Of all these people, only one had symptoms.

Patient zero is a 40-year-old Somali who had already obtained refugee status and who in August had moved to Athens to seek employment.

Having no luck, he had chosen to return to Moria, where he had settled in a tent in the olive grove that surrounds the field.

Many humanitarian organizations have been warning for months that, due to the terrible sanitary conditions, Moria is a powder keg and they have long demanded that at least the entire vulnerable population be evacuated.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Government has transferred more than a thousand people who belong to this group to the interior of the country.

Source: EFE


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