In Greece, Europe’s largest refugee camp caught fire on Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving thousands without any shelter and food.
Located on the island of Lesbos, Moria camp has been home to thousands of refugees. Since 2015, migrants have been coming here. At the time of the fire, there were more than 12,000 people present at the campsite, and this number is four times the maximum capacity of the camp.
The fierce fire that erupted on Tuesday and a second-round on Wednesday burned everything to the ground. Thousands had to escape the campsite and spend the night in the open, without any supplies. The tents and the water infrastructure burned down. The place is no more inhabitable.
After the incident, the Greece government has launched an investigation to find those responsible for this disaster.
However, the aid workers reported that the fire started Tuesday after 10 p.m. According to them, the migrants at the camp were protesting against the lockdown restrictions. They had intentionally created a fire series, but it spread quickly due to the high wind and the explosion of the gas containers.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said, “what is certain is that the fire was started because of the quarantine by asylum seekers in the facility.” He added that “Instances of unlawful behavior such as the ones we experienced yesterday will not be left unpunished. Such behavior is not acceptable, and also respect for law and order is a necessary precondition for the asylum process.”
Erik Marquardt, a Member of the European Parliament(M EP) with Germany’s Greens, tagged this incident as a “political disaster.” He said this reflects Europe’s poor management 2015 migration crisis.
“The situation we have here is a big problem. This kind of catastrophe can happen every time.” Marquardt said. “We should feel ashamed of that.”
Many countries have reached out and offered help to Greece.” We will not leave Greece alone with this situation — and above all — we will not leave the people in this camp alone. “I believe that the European Union as a whole has a responsibility,” said Heiko Maa, German Foreign Minister.
As of the latest reports, Greece has sent three ships to help the refugees on Lesbos Island.