Below lockdown, Europe’s largest migrant camp destroyed by fireplace

Some migrants, making an attempt to make their technique to the island’s important city, have been met by police.

By morning, the camp was little greater than charred husks and collapsed buildings. One photograph confirmed a razed olive grove, as soon as crowded with tents, the place solely two transportable bathrooms remained standing.

The hearth units off the most important emergency thus far at a website that has lengthy been the image of Europe’s failure to securely handle and look after the waves of migrant arrivals on the continent.

Migrants sleep outside the burned Moria refugee camp.

Migrants sleep exterior the burned Moria refugee camp.Credit score:AP

Greece stated it will attempt to discover short-term housing for the camp’s migrants, together with on ferries and naval vessels, in addition to in tents.

“I recognise the troublesome situations. Nonetheless, nothing can develop into an alibi for violent reactions to well being checks,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated. “And far more, for riots of this magnitude.”


There have been no reviews of accidents or deaths from the hearth.

Effectively earlier than the pandemic, the camp, generally known as Moria, had been beset by protests, deadly fires and power illness. It was crammed many occasions past capability and was cited by worldwide assist teams as unsafe and inhumane. It continued to function solely as a result of Greece – and Europe – have been unable to search out options.

“Occasions in Moria final night time are unthinkable however, tragically, predictable because the dire scenario on the islands has gone on for much too lengthy,” stated Dimitra Kalogeropoulou, the Greece nation director for the Worldwide Rescue Committee.

Kalogeropoulou stated the camp’s residents appeared to have safely fled however are “left with nothing.”

“Already traumatised individuals have now misplaced what few belongings that they had,” she stated.

The pressures on asylum seekers on the camp intensified final week when officers detected the primary optimistic coronavirus case there. A subsequent testing marketing campaign then detected 34 extra optimistic circumstances, and the camp was put underneath lockdown.

On the time, the help confederation Oxfam famous that social distancing and good hygiene have been all however unattainable on the camp, given its squalid and cramped situations.

The Greek authorities drafted a blueprint for closing Moria and different island migrant centres and creating extra everlasting constructions on taking energy final yr. However it has confronted native resistance in locations that may host the centres.


Earlier than the hearth, Greece had been transferring some asylum seekers to the mainland, whereas a handful of different European Union nations had agreed to absorb a number of the most weak migrants, particularly unaccompanied kids.

Moria’s inhabitants was nearer to 20,000 at first of the pandemic.

Because the camp burned, Greece declared a state of emergency on the island, and the whereabouts of the 35 migrants who had examined optimistic have been unclear. Stelios Petsas, a spokesman for the federal government, advised the general public broadcaster ERT that the migrants wouldn’t be allowed to go away the island.

Ylva Johansson, the EU’s house affairs commissioner, stated that Europe had “agreed to finance the instant switch and lodging on the mainland of the remaining 400 unaccompanied kids and youngsters.”

“The protection and shelter of all individuals in Moria is the precedence,” she wrote on Twitter.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia stated it’s prepared to accommodate 1000 of the asylum seekers, and Germany’s international minister, Heiko Maas, known as on different nations to pitch in, as effectively.

Movhgan Isar, a 16-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, stated he and his household had been stopped by police as they tried to stroll to the city of Mitilini.

“We are actually on the road, however there isn’t any shade,” he stated in a cellphone interview. “We’ve no meals or water. We want assist.”

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