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Lesbos: Greek police move migrants to new camp after Moria fire

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  • The migrant crisis in Europe

Migrants near the burned camp in Moria, 16 September 20

copyright to the imageReuters

image captionThe migrants have slept rudely for a week since the Moria fire

Police on the Greek island of Lesbos are moving thousands of migrants and refugees from the Moria fire camp to a new tent city nearby.

Seventy female officers in protective suits were sent to arrange the transfer of the women and children to the Kara Tepe temporary camp.

On Wednesday, four Afghan asylum seekers were charged with starting a fire that destroyed Moria last week.

A government official said 1,800 had been relocated to Kara Tepe by early Thursday.

But many migrants and refugees remain willing to stay in Lesbos, as Moria was overcrowded and scandalous. They hope to go elsewhere in Europe, especially Germany.

copyright to the imageReuters
image captionMany migrants are reluctant to enter a new camp in Lesbos

More than 12,000 people fled the Moria flames and most have since fallen asleep, lacking food, water and shelter.

Officers began waking families early Thursday to transfer them to the new camp. Footage from the scene shows female officers dressed in white talking to migrants.

Migrants are being tested for coronavirus before entering Kara Tepe. Reuters news agency reports that 56 Covid-19 positives have been found and authorities are trying to keep the infected isolated. A police spokesman told AFP the operation was aimed “at protecting public health”.

  • How Europe changed the migrant crisis

  • ‘Europe does not exist. This is hell ‘

The fire broke out last week after 35 people tested positive for coronavirus and some refused to be put in isolation after months of blockage.

During the operation to move migrants to the temporary camp, the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) wrote on Twitter that it had been denied entry to its new clinic in Lesbos by Greek police.

After a few hours the group said they were finally allowed to reopen their site, but said it was “very disturbing” that their medical care was interrupted during the move.
media inscriptionBBC’s Jean Mackenzie spent time talking to people in the camp just six months ago and reflects on her experiences there

People from 70 countries were sheltered in Moria, most of them from Afghanistan.

The German government has now agreed to take in 1,553 migrants from Moria – they are from 408 families who have received refugee status.

Earlier, Germany also said it would accept up to 150 unaccompanied minors. Greece flew 400 children to the territory last week and EU countries have agreed to take them, though details are not yet clear.

Since the 2015 migrant crisis, numbers arriving on Greek islands near Turkey have dropped significantly, but Greek camps, like those in Italy, remain overcrowded.

Greece and Italy have blamed the richest northern nations in the EU for failing to share the burden as irregular migrants – including refugees from war zones – continue to seek a new life in Europe.

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