Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Fire breaks out at Greece's overcrowded Moria refugee camp

At least 25 firefighters with 10 engines, aided by police, battle the flames both inside and outside the centre

Fire broke out at Greece's overcrowded migrant camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos early on Wednesday, fire brigade officials said.

There were no reports of injuries so far, while the cause of the blaze which burnt tents and containers was not immediately clear, a fire brigade official said.

A police official said that migrants had been taken to safety. People were seen leaving the camp, carrying their luggage, witnesses said.

At least 25 firefighters with 10 engines, aided by police, were battling the flames both inside and outside the centre, the fire brigade said. The firefighters were pushed back by migrants during their efforts to put out the fire.

The Moria camp, which hosts more than 12,000 people – more than four times its stated capacity – has been frequently criticised by aid groups for poor living conditions.

The camp was placed under quarantine last week after authorities confirmed that an asylum-seeker had tested positive for the coronavirus. Confirmed infections have risen to 35 since then.

Lesbos, which is off the Turkish coast, was on the front line of a massive movement of refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015-2016. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, since March 1, all migrants reaching the island have been quarantined away from the camps.

In the Moria camp, aid groups have warned that social distancing and basic hygiene measures are impossible to implement because of the living conditions.

Wildfires fanned by strong winds were also burning in two other areas on the island.

Updated: September 9, 2020 10:48 AM

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