By Ingrid Haack
Athens, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- European nations have started to offer shelter to around 12,000 refugees left homeless after a fire at Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Germany was the first to do so and has agreed to take in 1,553 people which interior minister Horst Seehofer said the country was “proud” to do.
The nation, which has a population of 80 million, became a new home for around 1.3 million refugees in 2015 and 2016, many who had fled conflict or persecution in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Seehofer told German parliament on Wednesday: “We can be proud, once again, to provide a humanitarian solution and to maintain the goal of containing the arrival of new refugees.”
He added that the country will also receive around 400 unaccompanied children from Moria, the first 109 of whom arrived on Tuesday.
Several German mayors have offered to take in more people but this was met with resistance by the central government, which has been facing criticism from the far right.
Those opposed to accepting refugees in the wake of the suspected arson attack at Moria have said it could encourage similar crimes.
Greece’s right-wing government shares this view and has said none of the transfers will be made from Lesbos but from other island camps or the mainland.
Human Rights Watch and other NGOs have urged governments to relocate asylum seekers from Lesbos as soon as possible as they are in the greatest need.