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Fire guts Greek refugee camp under virus shutdown

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 9/09/20, 04:00 am

Refugees and migrants ran out of the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos early Wednesday clutching their belongings as flames broke out at multiple points throughout the camp. Firefighters did not report any injuries at the site, which hosts more than 12,500 people, four times its capacity. Before dawn, riot police stationed cordons along a highway near the camp to limit the movements of migrants.

What caused the fire? Fire officials said the source of the blaze is unclear, but a government spokesman said they are considering arson. Authorities placed the camp on lockdown last week after a Somali asylum-seeker tested positive for the coronavirus. Infections have spread to 35 refugees who are staying at a location not affected by the fire. Firefighters who responded to the blaze said they “met resistance” from some camp residents. Lesbos is one of four island camps Greece set up after the 2015 migrant wave into Europe.

Dig deeper: Read my report with Mindy Belz on aid workers racing to protect refugees from the pandemic.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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