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Moria Migrants Plight Hanging by a Thread; Greek Ships to Help Shelter 13,000 Migrants

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Greek Ships are arriving to help ensure shelters for thousands of migrants sleeping and staying under Lesbos’s Island’s harsh conditions after the destruction of the fire’s highly crowded camps. 

Around 13,000 migrants left Moria and are now sleeping on roads, parking, and fields for the second day in a row. On Tuesday night, an outburst of fire destroyed the camps, and the rest got immersed on Wednesday.

400 Teenagers and children have already been flown to Greece, and now the government mentioned a ferry that is on the way and will soon assure shelters for the migrants. Additionally, 2 naval vessels are approaching, too; according to Notis Mitarachi, the migration minister, around 2,000 people will get temporary shelters in the three ships. 

He added that the authorities are working to ensure emergency housing arrangements near the destroyed Moria camp. Mr. Notis Mitarachi also specified the reason behind the growth of tensions in the camp. The tensions grew with imposing 15-days extended quarantine after one of the migrants got tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous week.

With further tests, around 15 more cases unveiled; and with most of them now in need of urgent shelters, there is a sense of concern with the pandemic situations. 

The Morio coordinator for MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres), Caroline Willeman, vocalized 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“.

Extreme losses for the migrants

Thousands of migrants lay around the roadsides sitting under the olive trees and at the kerbsides. People are carrying trolleys filled with blankets and bags filled with everything left.

The views got a lot more sympathetic with an Afghani woman staying on the streets with a 25-day old baby girl. After the Police denied returning to Moria, she and her family stayed at the roads and spent the night there. Moreover, no one cared enough to get them even food or water.

A bit far from the Afghani family, a Syrian woman was there on the roads feeding a small baby from the bottle, under the blazing sun. To prevent these refugees from moving towards Mytilene or the port, the police officers blocked the roadways and hindered their movement. 

Even when a refugee approached them for some requirements, the Police cold-heartedly shouted, “Go back, COVID, COVID!” Following that, a young Afghan boy leaned forward, shouting frustratingly, “Lesbos no good.”

Another Congolese 8-year-old girl was moving with barren feet, and she told the news agency, Reuters, that she is hungry, and added: “our home burned, my shoes burned, we don’t have food, no water.” Her mother’s name is Natzy Malala, and she was there with the girl and another newborn infant child. They slept at the roadsides, and Natzy Malala said that “There is no food, no milk for the baby.

Witnesses also revealed that three people lost their lives in the destructive fire; however, the Greek migration minister mentioned “No casualties, no loss of life.” He added that a few people already returned to the safer regions near the Moria camp, explicitly designed for 3,000 people.

All about Moria fire

As disclosed by Konstantinos Theofilopoulos, the local fire chief, there were three fires, destroying more than three places in just a short period. He unveiled how many of the protesters even came in the firefighters’ way when they tried tackling the condition. 

The primary fire blaze spreading immensely with blowing winds was successfully put out by the morning of Wednesday with the help of around 20 firefighters, 10 fire engines, and one helicopter.

The incident occurred soon after 35 people got tested positive, and the facilities shifted under quarantine. Mr. Notis Mitarachi also confirmed the same, stating that “Fires began with the asylum seekers because of the quarantine imposed.” He also mentioned how a few of the infected refugees denied moving into isolation facilities and their families.

A few of the migrants also mentioned the fire outbreak’s reason to be the arguments between some of the migrants and the Greek forces. Some of them also specified that it was all due to the Greek forces’ announcements regarding COVID-19, and they also unveiled some photos of what statements were behind igniting the flames.

Soon after the outbreak of destructive fires, some migrants attempted to carry the luggage and necessary belongings to Mytilene. Still, the Police moved forward, hindering their move towards the town by blocking the roads. Also, on trying to pass by the villages nearby, they were brutally attacked by the residents.

Reactions on the blaze

There is a state of emergency, and a few of the ministers and officers are also sent to Lesbos for tackling the worsened situation. Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that “The situation in Moria cannot go on, because it is simultaneously a public health and national security issue.

EU also offered help with the scenario, and Ursula Von Der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, mentioned that “the main priority was the safety of those left without shelter.”

EU presidency is under Germany now, and the blaze is described as a humanitarian disaster by Heiko Maas, the Foreign Minister of Germany. He also tweeted: “With the European Commission and other EU member states that are ready to help, we need to clarify how we can help Greece quickly.” He also vocalized: “That includes the distribution of refugees among those in the EU who are willing to take them in.

Soon after that, Armin Laschet, The German state North Rhine Westphalia’s prime minister, also offered to take 1,000 refugees. The EU also tried resettling the refugees among the member nations, but only a small part got transferred from the overcrowded camps till now.

All about the camp

The camp is towards the north-east of the Lesbos capital Mytilene. For years, the camp has been immensely overcrowded with thousands of refugees staying there. According to the surveys, it was also revealed that 70% of the refugees are Afghanis, and in all, the refugees are from 70 different nations.

For years all the arriving people in Lesbos are only kept in the camp, and they could not leave the place before the processing of asylum applications from the mainland, which was an immensely slow procedure.

The Human Rights Watch also stated that the Greek authorities had not done much for the smooth tackling of overcrowding situations. They also warned that the place might not be the best fit in the COVID-19 outbreak.

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