'This Fire Was Expected'

Europe's largest refugee camp, Moria, is largely destroyed in blaze
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2020 9:25 AM CDT
Updated Sep 9, 2020 2:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – Little of Europe's largest refugee camp has been left standing after a fire swept through on Tuesday night—with Wednesday night bringing more fires. The Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos is home to nearly 13,000 people, some 70% of them from Afghanistan but the rest hailing from more than 70 countries, reports the BBC. The New York Times cites a government rep who said Tuesday's fire "wasn't accidental," with officials saying camp residents started it. The blaze followed news that camp residents were going to be made to quarantine after some three dozen COVID-19 cases emerged. A protest broke out, and the fire picked up speed due to what the AP describes as gale-force winds and the presence of gas canisters. More:

  • The camp's formal infrastructure has largely been destroyed, along with a unit that housed 400 unaccompanied children. An aid worker tells the Times "there are thousands of people just sitting on the main road" with nowhere to go, though many children have been placed in hotels or other "safe zones" on the island. The BBC reports police have closed down roads exiting the camp to prevent migrants from entering adjacent towns.
  • The AP reports that fire again erupted in the camp on Wednesday night, specifically in the portions that hadn't burned in the first fire. An AP photographer on the scene described more people pouring out of the area with their things in tow.

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