Moria refugee camp largely burned down, thousands of migrants fled

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The Greek refugee camp Moria on the island of Lesbos has been largely destroyed, according to Greek Deputy Minister of Migration Manos Logothetis Wednesday morning. Several fires broke out in the overcrowded refuge in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. Thousands of migrants have since left the camp.

Lesvos is facing a huge task

Nothing has yet been announced about any victims. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced a crisis meeting with his cabinet due to the situation. There are also concerns about a corona outbreak.

The cause of the fire is not yet officially clear, but initial reports indicate that fires broke out in several places in the camp after authorities tried to isolate individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Greek news agency ANA reports that an unknown number of migrants rebelled against these isolation measures and started fires in protest. According to news agency AFP Firefighters said they were stopped by a group of refugees and they needed the help of the police to put out the fire.

Some 13,000 refugees lived in the camp, while it could accommodate only 3,000 people. Many of them fled on foot to the Greek port city of Mytilini on Wednesday morning, but were stopped by the police.

A government spokesman said to the Greek television channel ARE that the emergency will be declared for all of Lesbos. He warned the island authorities that they face the “gigantic task” to receive all homeless refugees.

In addition, the corona virus had broken out in the camp. “There are 35 positive cases and they need to be identified and isolated to prevent an outbreak in the local population,” said the spokesman.

Residents of Camp Moria fled into the streets. (Photo: Pro Shots)

Living conditions in Moria were dire. From Turkey – Lesvos is just off the Turkish coast – more and more people have joined the camp in recent years.

Because the camp became so overcrowded, there was a lack of sanitation, hygiene and medical care. In recent weeks, concerns about the number of increased corona infections have been added.

Aid organizations have been asking the European Union for months to evacuate and receive refugees on Lesvos.

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