The Greek Alternate Minister for migration and asylum Georgios Koumoutsakos gave a statement regarding the situation in Lesbos after huge fires engulfed the Moria refugee camp on Wednesday.
The huge fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday forcing thousands to flee the site, more fires continued throughout the day.
«The centre has been completely destroyed and as a result thousands of people are now homeless. You understand that the combination of the migration issue and the pandemic under these circumstances is leading to a situation that it's extremely demanding to handle,» stated Georgios Koumoutsakos.
«Based on all information from the field, no loss of life has been recorded so far. All unaccompanied minors are safe and have been moved either to secure zones or to hotels in the island,» confirmed Koumoutsakos.
«Everything points to the fact that the fire was started as a result of the dissatisfaction of some guests of the Moria centre due to the necessary isolation resulting from 36 confirmed COVID-19 cases among 1,900 tests carried out in the past few days,» he added.
The camp was placed under quarantine last week after the first COVID-19 case appeared at the overcrowded camp. A 40-year-old Somalian man tested positive after having returned to the island after not being able to settle on the Greek mainland and was put in isolation to curb the outbreak.
Early reports suggested the fire was started by migrants protesting quarantine, Koumoutsakos confirmed this scenario. «Everything points to the fact that the fire was started as a result of the dissatisfaction of some guests of the Moria centre due to the necessary isolation resulting from 36 confirmed COVID-19 cases,» said Koumoutsakos.
The Moria camp was the largest in Europe, exceeding almost four times its maximum capacity of 3,100 people, hosting around 13,000 migrants living in poor sanitary conditions.