Athens, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Greek police officers on Thursday began an operation to transfer thousands of migrants to a new facility on the island of Lesbos that was set up after a massive fire destroyed the Moria refugee camp.
Hundreds of families have been sleeping in makeshift tents out in the open since the blaze over a week ago.
In the initial hours of the operation some 450 people were taken to the new Kara Tepe refugee camp, of which 250 have been allocated accommodation, a police spokesman told Efe.
Police officers arrived at the makeshift camps set up around the main road near Moria at 8am local time to wake people up and distribute informative leaflets about the operation.
Before entering Kara Tepe, refugees must first undergo a PCR test for Covid-19.
The aim of the large scale operation is to transfer the roughly 13,000 people who were left without accommodation due to the fire that ripped through the camp on 8 September.
Dozens of policewomen were brought to the site to take part in the operation with the task of convincing women refugees of the benefits of moving to the new camp.
As of Wednesday only 1,800 people had agreed to be transferred to the Kara Tepe facility, where the United Nations refugee agency (ACNUR) has erected 600 tents. At the moment it has the capacity to host 3,600 people.
A representative of Doctors of the World, an NGO, told Efe that 80 bathroom facilities had been set up in the new camp while local media said the Swiss government had provided plumbing material for pipelines capable of providing water to 10,000 people.
In a message on social media this morning, MSF said Greek police had blocked it from accessing the new camp on Lesbos.
“A police operation is ongoing to force the refugees to the new camp. This should not obstruct the provision of medical care,” the NGO tweeted. EFE-EPA