Massive Fire in Greece Leaves Thousands of Homeless in Lesbos
A Major Massive Fire in Greece left thousands stranded at Moria’s biggest migrant center in Lesbos Island. Around 12,000 men, women and children fled into nearby olive groves and fields in fear from containers and tents, as the fire burned much of the overcrowded, squalid camp.
The blaze began just hours after the migration ministry said 35 people were performing positively at the site. Citing unidentified police reports, a news agency said the fires had began after an uprising by citizens to be held in solitude, although no official confirmation was given. A local town official said the perpetrators took advantage of heavy winds and placed tents on fire.
“It was premeditated, the tents were bare,” Michalis Fratzeskos, Deputy Civil Protection Officer, told state TV ERT. Firemen said there were no confirmed injuries so far, but a number of people suffered minor breathing difficulties. Since the fire began late Tuesday, AFP TV footage revealed, smoke was already billowing out of the camp hours.
There were hundreds of people milling around burned crates, some holding things, some taking phone images. “There is no Moria, it has been lost,” regional deputy governor Aris Hatzikomninos told ERT, as the island was hurriedly flew by additional riot police.
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Wednesday that the bloc will fund “the urgent relocation and lodging of the remaining 400 unaccompanied children and teens to the mainland of the camp.” The welfare and security of all residents in Moria is a priority, “Johansson tweeted.
The Moria camp, which was designed to accommodate less than 2,800 residents, has been regularly criticised for its lack of hygiene and overcrowding by rights organisations and the UN refugee agency. Prostitution, sexual harassment, the kidnapping of minors, drug abuse and fights were reported in the camp, where scores of people were stabbed, burned to death in their tents or attempted suicide.