Greek ships to help shelter 13,000 Moria migrants after fire

Greek ships to help shelter 13,000 Moria migrants after fire
Thousands of migrants are sleeping in the streets. Source: REUTERS
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: Greece is sending three ships to help house thousands of migrants sleeping rough on the Lesbos island after fire destroyed their overcrowded camp.

Families slept in fields, on roads and car parks for a second night after fleeing Moria camp, where about 13,000 had been living in squalor.

A blaze engulfed Moria camp on Thursday night, then another wiped out any remaining tents on Wednesday.

About 400 children and teenagers have been flown to mainland Greece.

The authorities of Greece say a ferry is on its way to provide shelter to the migrants, along with two naval vessels. Notis Mitarachi, the country’s migration minister, said about 2,000 people would be temporarily sheltered aboard the ships.

But he also said authorities were working to provide emergency accommodation near the devastated Moria camp site.

Mr Mitarachi said tensions had been running high in the camp because a 15-day quarantine had been introduced after a migrant tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

At least 35 people linked to the camp had tested positive for coronavirus by Wednesday, and there is concern on Lesbos now that most of them need to be urgently located.

Caroline Willeman, the Moria co-ordinator for medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said that “they had initially been isolated, but of course in the chaos of the last two days they have once again been dispersed within the wider community”.

“We had been told last night that eight out of the 35 cases had again been located and isolated.”

An eight-year-old barefoot Congolese girl told Reuters news agency that she was hungry and “our home burned, my shoes burned, we don’t have food, no water”.

She had slept at the roadside with her mother Natzy Malala, who has a newborn infant. “There is no food, no milk for the baby,” Natzy Malala said.

Witnesses have told the BBC that three people died in the fire but the Greek migration minister said there had been “no casualties, no loss of life”.

He said that some people were returning to “safe areas” near the Moria camp, which was only designed to hold 3,000 people.

Fires broke out in more than three places in the camp in a short space of time, local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos said.

He said some protesting migrants hindered firefighters who tried to tackle the flames.

The main blaze was put out by Wednesday morning where some 20 firefighters, 10 fire engines and a helicopter were sent to the scene.

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