After huge fires broke out at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos in the early hours of Wednesday forcing thousands to flee the site, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave a statement from Athens on Wednesday evening discussing the situation.
«I express my sorrow over the events that took place yesterday in Moria. I acknowledge that the circumstances are tough. However, nothing should be turned into an alibi for violent reactions to health controls, even more so for such extensive riots. The situation in Moria cannot go on like this, because it constitutes an issue of public health and at the same time humanism, but also national security. An emergency situation has been declared across the island, which means that all national resources and all national forces will be contributed,» stated Mitsotakis.
There are still no reports of casualties, though large parts of the camp were destroyed after the flames burned it to the ground. Some locals reportedly attacked migrants and prevented them from passing through a village situated close by while they were evacuating from the flames.
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.
«I already informed European authorities with whom we are continuously cooperating. The problem of managing migratory waves is first and foremost a European problem. Greece has already shouldered a burden much heavier than the one that corresponds to it,» explained Mitsotakis.
The Moria camp is 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.