The first migrants from the fire-damaged Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos began moving to a new makeshift camp set up by the government at the site of the Kara Tepe army shooting range, however, moving to the new camp has been a slow process as all newcomers have to be tested for coronavirus.
More than 12,000 people found themselves homeless after last week’s fires, which were started by migrants inside the camp, and only about 300 of them have been relocated by the authorities to a tent camp with a capacity of 3,000 people so far.
These were mostly families with children, the Greek public television ERT reported.
All migrants moving to the new camp, which was set up with the help of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, must pass a coronavirus rapid test. According to the ERT, the infection has been confirmed in seven cases so far. All those infected, along with their family members, were placed in quarantine in a remote part of the tent camp, where they will have to spend the mandatory quarantine.
The quarantine, which was ordered to the entire Moria camp after the first outbreak, led to loud protests and eventually to migrants deliberately setting fires that destroyed the camp on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since then, more than 12,000 people have been homeless.
Many of them are now protesting against transfers to a makeshift camp and asking for permission to leave the island and continue to Europe. But the Greek government has ruled this option out for now.
Demonstrations and clashes
According to the DPA, the situation on the island remains tense, and thousands of migrants are still camped out on the island’s roads. It may take weeks for all the people of the ruined Moria camp to regain a roof over their heads. Authorities are now looking for other places where tent camps could be set up.
Repeated spontaneous demonstrations took place on Saturday and migrants clashed with police, including throwing stones at officers, who, in response, used tear gas on them.
Camp Moria has seen overcrowding for years due to large influx of migrants trying to pass through Greece on their way towards Northern Europe.
At one point, there were almost 13,000 migrants in the facility originally intended for a maximum of 2,750 people. The problems were mainly with hygiene.
The people of Lesbos want the government now to relocate the refugees to mainland Greece, but the authorities have so far only allowed the evacuation of unaccompanied migrant minors. Ten countries of the European Union said they would accept these minors.
Title image: Migrants take part in a rally as riot police block the road near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Thousands of protesting refugees and migrants left homeless on the Greek island of Lesbos after fires destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp have gathered on a road leading to the island’s main town, demanding to be allowed to leave. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)