Greece pledges shelter for thousands left homeless by Moria refugee camp fire

(Update 2: adds details of fresh fire outbreaks)

Athens, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- The Greek migration minister said the government would ensure that vulnerable people and families affected by the huge fire that ripped through the overcrowded Moria migrant camp on Lesbos had accommodation by the end of Thursday.

Moria had been home to around 13,000 people — more than four times the capacity it was designed to accommodate — at the time of Tuesday night’s fire and many families had to spend Wednesday night sleeping out on the roads and olive groves around the camp.

Those who had stayed in the camp because their shelters had been spared in the fire, ran to escape two more blazes on Wednesday afternoon and ended up with the thousands of people who had lost everything the night before.

Notis Mitarachi on Thursday responded to the situation in a statement, saying: “Throughout the day, we will take all necessary action to provide immediate accommodation to the vulnerable and families in specially designed spaces.”

In an interview with private radio station Skai, Mitarachi said vulnerable people would be accommodated in temporary shelters one of three ships — two belonging to the Navy, one a repurposed ferry — earmarked to alleviate overcrowding at the camp or in tents ferried over from other islands.

A Navy spokesperson, however, told Efe that the two naval vessels were still moored in mainland Greece and were awaiting orders to travel to Lesbos if necessary.

The commercial ferry is anchored in Sigri, in northeast Lesbos, around 90 kilometers from the camp.

Around 1,000 vulnerable people are expected to start boarding throughout the day, although experience shows that this process is long.

Last March, the Greek government, in a bid to decongest the overcrowded camp that at that time had about 20,000 inhabitants, boarded 400 people onto a Navy ship that later transported them to other camps in the north of the country. The operation lasted days.

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