New fire in overcrowded migrant camp on Greek island of Lesbos


Fire struck again Wednesday night at Greece’s notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept by it and left thousands in need of emergency shelter. The flames caused no injuries, however they revived criticism of Europe’s migration policy.

Wednesday night’s flames broke out within the pieces of Moria camp which hadn’t burnt in the very first recourse, sending folks flowing out of the camp with their possessions, based on an Associated Press photographer at the place.

Afterwards, roughly 4,000 migrants who had left the camp to get the island’s most important port of Mytilini to board boats to the mainland threw stones at police blocking the street, and officials responded with tear gas, police said. There were no reports of injuries or arrests. Authorities stated migrants also lit fires in areas close to the website of their clashes.

Moria was beneath a coronavirus lockdown once the first fire gutted a large part of it, and health officials said a few of the that had tested positive for the virus had fled.

“The mix of the pandemic in these states is developing a very demanding scenario,” Alternate Migration Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos stated. Civil defense authorities announced a four-month state of crisis to public health reasons on Lesbos.

Officials stated the initial fire was launched by camp residents angered by the lockdown steps and isolation orders enforced after 35 individuals tested positive for COVID-19. The instances were discovered through testing and contact following the sickness of a Somali person who was granted asylum and had abandoned the island in July but afterwards returned.

The specific reason for the very first blaze was being researched, but”what’s sure is that the fire has been started, due to the quarantine, by asylum-seekers at the centre,” explained Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi, that flew into Lesbos with Greece’s interior minister and the head of the public health company.

“Instances of criminal conduct like the ones we experienced will not be left handed,” Mitarachi explained. “Such behavior isn’t acceptable, and respect for law and order is a essential precondition for the asylum procedure.”

A number of those that had tested positive, in addition to a number of their close connections who’d been transferred to isolation, had abandoned quarantine after the events, National Public Health Organization mind Panagiotis Arkoumaneas explained. Eight of these and”a substantial number of the close contacts” was found and moved into a new quarantine area.

In striking landscapes early Wednesday, guys, women and kids returned fires which broke out throughout the night in multiple factors and have been fanned by gale-force winds. Firefighters said camp inhabitants hampered their attempts to put out the blaze.

Aid agencies have warned of dire circumstances at Moria, at which greater than 12,500 individuals reside in and about a facility constructed to house only over two,750. The camp — home people fleeing poverty and violence in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan — has come to be a sign of what critics say is Europe’s failure to humanely manage the migration and refugee situation.

Mitarachi explained the initial harbor left around 3,500 camp inhabitants displaced, imagining the fire ruined government buildings and a gym, but just 1 part of quarters.

Those left homeless will be placed temporarily in tents flown into the island, and aboard a ferry along with two navy boats.

Around 400 unaccompanied children and teens living in the camp were being flown into other centers in northern Greece. A very first charter flight with 165 passengers attained the northern town of Thessaloniki late Wednesday, while two were expected to land in Thessaloniki early Thursday. Each of the minors have been put in quarantine from the new centers.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated he recognized the challenging circumstances in Moria.

“But, nothing could turn into a justification for a violent response to wellness checks. Andso, for the unrest of the scope,” Mitsotakis said.

The ministry added:”The problem in Moria can’t continue because it represents concurrently a matter of public health, humankind and national safety.”

Aid associations and rights groups revived criticism of Europe’s migration policy, which they said contributed to situations such as the dramatic terms of Moria.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović noted likewise overcrowded conditions on other Greek islands and stated the problem could degenerate there also.

The flame indicates the urgency of rethinking Europe’s method of migration,”that has caused the overcrowded, inhumane and totally unsustainable scenario in Moria and elsewhere in the Aegean islands,” Mijatovic stated.

Amnesty International’s migration researcher Adriana Tidona stated”reckless EU policies” were to blame for its overcrowding at Moria.

“Since the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum is finalized, this is a timely indictment of the present policy of camps and containment,” she explained.

Beneath a 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey made to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees, people coming on Greek islands such as Lesbos in the local Turkish coast are held there pending either deportation back to Turkey or the approval of the asylum claims.

Though the bargain radically reduced the stream, delays in processing asylum claims and also the continuing arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers directed island camps to rapidly exceed their capability. Successive Greek authorities have encouraged other European nations to share the burden.

“The issue of the handling of migration flows is, after all, largely a European one,” Mitsotakis said, imagining Athens was in continuous contact with European governments on the problem. “Greece has borne a much heavier load than its share”

European governments, that have frequently been criticized for not doing enough to alleviate the migration burden on southern countries including Greece, Italy and Spain, provided help.

“We won’t abandon Greece alone with this scenario — and most importantly — we won’t leave the folks in this camp ,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explained.

“We’ve offered the Greek authorities support… and we’ll also make this a problem through our (EU) Council Presidency,” he added. “I feel that the European Union as a whole has a duty.”

Thousands marched in many German cities to demonstrate their support for people in Moria. A huge crowd packed the square in front of Berlin’s most important train station to need that exposed refugees be attracted to Germany, chanting”We’ve got space”

Many held signs criticizing Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, that has rejected offers by many cities to participate in refugees, asserting a pan-European alternative has to be found.

Similar rallies also took place in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

Germany holds the EU’s rotating presidency. A spokesman for Seehofer said Berlin was in discussions with Athens over what help Germany could supply.

Dutch Development Cooperation Minister Sigrid Kaag vowed 1 million euros (roughly $1.2 million) in emergency assistance for Greece to aid supply lodging, housing and maintenance to migrants, whereas EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson stated she’d agreed to fund the transport and lodging of those 400 unaccompanied children and teens into the mainland.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who’s accountable for migration issues, will lead to Lesbos Thursday.


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