BY: CHRISTINE THEODOROU and IVAN PEREIRA
(BERLIN) — German officials announced Wednesday that they will accept hundreds of refugees who were displaced during last week’s fire at the Moria camp in Greece.
The German government said it would take 408 families consisting of 1,553 people who were living in the refugee settlement located on the island of Lesbos.
“Equally, Germany will take in up to 150 unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers. This decision was taken last week and is part of a joint initiative with France and other EU states,” the German government said in a news release.
Greek investigators said asylum-seekers living in the camp started a fire on Sept. 9, following a mandatory lockdown triggered by a COVID-19 case confirmed earlier in the month. Roughly 12,500 refugees were living in the camp that was built to hold about 2,750, according to The Associated Press.
Police have detained five foreign nationals from Afghanistan in connection with the Moria fires and are still searching for one other suspect, Greek minister of citizen protection Michalis Chrisochoidis told reporters on Tuesday.
Some 400 unaccompanied children from the camp have been flown to shelters in northern Greece. They were quarantined and tested for COVID-19, according to officials.
One thousand asylum seekers were housed in a private ferry while 2,500 were housed in two Greek naval ships.
The camp has been criticized for years by leaders and humanitarians for its dire conditions and packed facilities.
On Wednesday, Greece’s migration minister Notis Mitarachi said the recent fires at facilities in Lesvos, Samos, and in recent months in Chios, demonstrate the need to immediately close “lawless” migrant centers and to create supervised centers that will offer humane living conditions.
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