Major fire at refugee camp in Greece, no casualty

A massive fire broke out at Greece’s largest refugee camp Moria, on the northeastern Aegean Sea island of Lesvos on Wednesday, news agency AMNA reported.

The fire has spread throughout the reception centre. Authorities have announced that 35 refugees had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and some of them refused to get into quarantine with their families, according to the report.

People were evacuated and officials were examining solutions for their accommodation. However, no casualty have been reported so far, Xinhua news agency reported.

The overflowing camp hosted some 12,700 people with a capacity of 2,757, according to the latest official data provided by the Greek government.

The first confirmed case of Covid-19 at Moria was detected a week ago.

“The disaster at Moria is total. We must see in cooperation with all institutions what solutions we can provide for the temporary and long-term hospitality of residents there. It is a first priority for everyone,” Manos Logothetis, Secretary General of the Reception of Asylum Seekers of the Migration and Asylum Ministry, told AMNA before travelling to the island.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected on Wednesday morning to assess the situation, his office announced in an e-mailed press statement.

“The night was very difficult for everybody on the island. It is a tragic development amidst a pandemic. Now more than 12,000 people are out in the open on the road or fled to the mountains,” Stratis Kitelis, mayor of Mytilene, the island’s capital, told Greek TV channel MEGA.

Currently, Greece hosts about 100,000 asylum seekers. Since 2015 more than one million refugees and migrants reached the country and most continued their journey to other countries in Europe before borders closed along the Balkan route in 2016.