A fire has destroyed Greece’s largest migrant camp. The Moria Refugee Camp lies north-east of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos.
It was built for just 2,000 people but has since been overwhelmed by the huge numbers of refugees prompting the construction of an overflow site- the Kara Tepe Refugee Camp to take on the surplus.
About twenty-five, well-equipped firefighters battled the flames as migrants within the Moria facility were hastily evacuated with some suffering injuries from smoke exposure.
Reports say migrants protesting against coronavirus rules may have started the fire, though this is unconfirmed. The camp was placed under quarantine last week after a migrant tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. There are now 35 confirmed cases since the incident.
Police blocked migrants heading to the port town of Mytilene, leaving them stuck on the road. Moria refugee facility is home to more than 13000 people four times the number it is supposed to officially accommodate. 70% of these are from Afghanistan with the rest coming from over seventy different countries.
Lesbos Deputy governor, Aris Hatzikomninos reportedly told local radio the camp had been “completely destroyed”. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called an emergency meeting on the fire earlier today.
The European Union through their home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson has agreed to finance the transfer of 400 unaccompanied teenagers and children to the mainland and in addition to catering for their accommodation.