Moria Camp

More than 1,200 migrants have entered makeshift accommodation on the Greek island of Lesbos after they were displaced by a fire which destroyed their previous camp, local media reported on Wednesday.

Greek authorities have set up the extra tent capacity on the outskirts of the pre-existing Kara Tepe camp on a hill north of Lesbos’ capital Mytilini.

A further 11,000 people were still without shelter on the island following a fire which ripped through the chronically overcrowded Moria camp last week.

Of those now in Kara Tepe, 35 had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been placed in isolation, the state broadcaster ERT reported, citing the Greek Migration Ministry.

Security forces on the island arrested six young migrants, all of them Afghans, on suspicion of arson on Tuesday.
On the nearby island of Samos, the all-clear was given early on Wednesday after the fire brigade managed to control a blaze which broke out on the edge of the Vathy registration camp, the broadcaster said.

The police have taken a number of people into custody in connection with suspected arson, it said. Around 4,600 migrants live on Samos.

Several European countries including Germany have meanwhile pledged to take in migrants from Greece in reaction to the fire in the Moria camp.

A spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) welcomed Berlin’s decision to accept an additional 1,553 refugees from Greek islands, though questioned why Germany decided to only welcome people who had already been granted protection status in Greece.

“It would have made more sense to take in people who have yet to start the asylum process,” in order to take pressure from Greek authorities, UNHCR spokesman Chris Melzer told dpa.

Belgium has accepted an additional 100 to 150 people especially in need of protection, including families with children, mothers and women travelling on their own, the Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block and her Greek counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos said, according to news agency Belga.

Belgium had previously agreed to take in 12 unaccompanied minors, and 18 young people had arrived over summer, according to the report.

Meanwhile Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has made clear the country would not accept any migrants from Greece.
Instead, the Austrian government flew 400 fully equipped tents for 2,000 people to Greece on Wednesday to act as replacement shelters for the migrants from Moria.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, who accompanied the aid transport, said in Athens that taking in people from Greece would send the wrong signal.

It would be wrong to “give in to violence-prone migrants,” he said, referring to the alleged arsonists.

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