Bid to rebuild Lesvos camp amid tensions

TAGS: Migration, Society, Education

Authorities and humanitarian aid staff on the island of Lesvos were working on Tuesday to rebuild the Moria camp for migrants that was ruined in a large fire on Monday night.

The exact cause of the blaze remained unclear last night though local reports indicated that earlier clashes had been prompted by a dispute between migrants of different ethnic origins over whether or not to carry out a hunger strike. Police detained nine migrants in connection with the blaze.

Earlier in the day, rumors had swirled that authorities were planning to return migrants to Turkey en masse.

More than half of the 4,400 migrants driven out of the camp by Monday night’s fire had returned on Tuesday.

Dozens of unaccompanied minors were moved to another special facility on the island.

The Shipping Ministry pledged to send a vessel to Lesvos to put up hundreds more but there was no sign of it by late Tuesday night.

As authorities on Lesvos and other islands warn of rising tensions at reception centers as migrants continue to arrive from neighboring Turkey, concern is rising in communities across the country.

On Tuesday an association representing the parents of schoolchildren in Filippiada, near Preveza in northwestern Greece, sent a letter to local authorities and the Education Ministry, saying “explicitly and categorically that we will not accept, under any circumstances, that the children of so-called irregular immigrants” join their children in local schools, referring to the government’s plan to induct refugees into Greek schools.

The parents expressed concerns about the refugee children not being vaccinated and about cultural differences, noting that “they come from another continent with completely different diseases and health conditions,” and also cited concerns “for religious and educational reasons.”

The parents of several schools in Oraiokastro near Thessaloniki have expressed similar concerns.