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A massive fire broke out on Wednesday at the largest refugee camp, Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos in Greece, which had been placed under COVID-19 lockdown. The island's main migrant camp was gutted by back-to-back fires, leaving thousands of migrants and asylum seekers displaced.
The camp houses over 12,000 people. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the Moria Reception and Identification Center on the island of Lesbos was 80% destroyed in the blaze.
Videos posted on social media platforms show the fire engulfing camp and other structures nearby.
Hell on earth at #Moria camp on #Lesvos #Greece. A fire started late last night, now believed to have burned most of the camp that houses 12,000 people (4x its capacity). Doesn't come as a surprise I'm afraid. #lesbos #migrants #refugeesgr pic.twitter.com/xFifUquvwn— 𝙺𝚘𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚜 𝙺𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚛𝚐𝚒𝚜 (@KallergisK) September 9, 2020
About 12,600 migrants were displaced, with more than 4,000 children, including 407 unaccompanied children, who had been living in the camp. The camp was built to accommodate 3,000 people, but its migrant population has swelled to over 20,000 in the past.
Fortunately, no casualties have been reported as of now. The cause of the fire is still unknown but the investigation is underway. Authorities also said that it could either have happened due to natural circumstances or started deliberately after COVID-19 tests led to the isolation of 35 refugees, reported Reuters.
The migration ministry on Thursday said a ferry had been sent to temporarily accommodate hundreds of people, ahead of the expected arrival of European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas to inspect conditions on the island, reported news agency Agence France-Presse(AFP).
According to the report, it is also being said that migrants threw stones at firefighters who were working on putting down the blaze.
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