Greece declares state of emergency over Moria migrant camp fire

(Update: adds Greek state of emergency, govt response, international reaction)

Athens, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- Greece has declared a four-month state of emergency after Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday.

The blaze broke out after 35 people who had tested positive for coronavirus refused to be moved to an isolation center, according to Moria town mayor Yiannis Mastroyiannis.

Due to the strong winds, the flames spread quickly and destroyed almost everything in the camp, especially containers used for housing and tents.

Moria camp is the largest of its kind in Europe and home to around 13,000 people, more than four times its official capacity.

Greek authorities said the fire has left between 3,000 and 4,000 of those who were sheltering there homeless.

The government has declared a state of emergency for the next four months and has announced immediate measures to relocate these people.

One of the main challenges will be to provide hygienic conditions and order a large number of rapid Covid-19 tests for the island.

While the authorities are looking for a place to house them, the migrants have been wandering through the ashes in search of anything to recover from the rubble, with no one to stop them from entering the site before it has been made safe.

Several humanitarian organizations have called for the immediate transfer of those living in Moria as well as a radical change in the European Union’s migration policy.

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