Refugee Camp Fire in Greece forced thousands to Flee

Refugees fleeing the camp Refugees fleeing the camp Reuters

20 september 2016
A refugee camp, located on the island of Lesbos in Greece, was set ablaze Monday night causing refugees to evacuate by the thousands.

The origins of the fire came from the Moria camp where over 50 tents were destroyed and over 4,000 migrants were forced to flee. About 60% of the campsite faced serious damages where most of the housing was burned to rubble. The fire was put out by Tuesday, and while a majority were able to return to the camp, many children were transferred to another facility. No imminent casualties were reported during the incident.

Before the fire, two separate protests were organized that quickly escalated into riots, so there were many varying speculations on how the fire started. The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, believed that the fire occurred due to the poor living conditions in the campsite while others speculated that the fire was started on purpose due to growing tensions started by rumors of deportation to Turkey. It was also suggested that rallies were staged by the locals because of the animosity towards migrants. Approximately nine people were taken in for custody and questioned about the incident.

Over 60,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Greece have become exponentially impatient waiting for the extensive process to relocate out of their cramped and unsanitary living conditions. It was documented that the campsites suffered from overcrowding, filth, violence and harassment. Thus Greece announced that they would rebuild these camps to better serve the refugees in terms of living conditions. Additionally, aid groups have been focusing on finding safe shelters for the victims affected by the fire.

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