Regional authority, migration minister clash over Lesvos hot spot

Regional authority, migration minister clash over Lesvos hot spot

The Regional Authority of the Northern Aegean issued a stern reply to Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas who claimed the local governor lacks the legitimacy to close down the identification centre in Moria, Lesvos, pointing to a law on public health risks.

Speaking to radio station news24/7 on Wednesday, Vitsas said Moria does not fall under the jurisdiction of the regional governor because it is not a restaurant or a cafe.

Responding to the comment, the regional authority pointed to a circular published by the Ministry of Health (law 4075/2012) which allows it to “prohibit the operation, temporarily or definitively” of any premises or houses “used for living,” if there is a risk to public health.

The law stipultes that “the aforementioned businesses, houses and premises must be closed without further formalities and are sealed by the competent police authority."

The regional authority has given the Ministry of Migration Policy until the end of September to clean up the overcrowded camp in Moria, where refugees and migrants live in squalid conditions, or face closure.

The announcement in early September was part of a report compiled by environmental and health inspectors from Lesvos’ public health directorate who found the camp is unsuitable and dangerous for public health and the environment.

Vitsas conceded on Tuesday that the camp has reached its limit and said efforts are under way for its decongestion.

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