Kurdish refugees living at a reception center in Lavrion, southern Attica, rioted yesterday against a Health Ministry decision to move 22 families from there to another center near Larissa, to relieve overcrowding at Lavrion. There are about 600 people living in a space designed for 300, Greek Red Cross general director Emmanouil Sigourakos told Kathimerini. As two buses arrived at Lavrion to pick up the 80 Kurds, residents began dragging mattresses outside and setting them alight, and took nine employees of the center hostage, causing damage estimated at several million drachmas. The refugees said they were afraid they were to be deported, although Sigourakos said that as all had applied for asylum, they could not be deported before their applications have been processed. The hostages were released three hours later after it was agreed to resume negotiations on Monday. Simitis said the flood at Malakassa had been caused by a road drainage system that had been blocked by large quantities of earth.