NEWS

Moria migrant camp destruction creates ‘unprecedented humanitarian crisis’, says minister

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The registration and identification center of Moria, on the island of Lesvos, has been "probably totally destroyed" by the blaze that ripped through the camp on Tuesday night creating an "unprecedented humanitarian crisis," Alternate Migration Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said on Wednesday during a press briefing on the blaze.

He said about 3,500 migrants of the over 12,000 people hosted in Moria will probably be housed in tents near the camp while the remaining 11,500 migrants will continue to live in the center.

Thousands of migrants and refugees have gathered near the destroyed camp after fleeing the flames last night.

"We are dealing with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Dramatic events in Moria led to a large fire. The center has been destroyed. As a result, several thousand people are left homeless. The combination of migration and the pandemic have created an extremely demanding situation," he told journalists.

Koumoutsakos said that “all measures are being evaluated in light of the new circumstances.”

Priority will now be given to the transfer of 408 unaccompanied refugee children to the mainland, he said. Authorities are also confident they will find safe accommodation for all vulnerable groups by the end of the day.

The minister said that so far, there have been no reports of deaths, adding that the archives and documents help in the centre have been destroyed.

Concerning the cause of the fire, he said that it started after clashes broke out between migrants over the isolation measures imposed ur to the coronavirus pandemic, initially outside and later inside the camp.

Koumoutsakos said further government announcements are expected at 6 p.m.