he International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is seeking funding or other assistance from donors to continue supporting the Hellenic Red Cross (HRC) through its currently ongoing MDR65003 Emergency Appeal on Turkey-Greece and other countries: Population Movement. This Emergency Appeal is currently being revised with an increased budget and will be adjusted to reflect additional needs as a result of the fire. Those wanting to respond to the crisis on Lesvos are encouraged to contribute to this appeal.
This bulletin is being issued for information and reflects the current situation and details available at this time.
During the night on 8 September 2020, a devastating fire ripped through the Reception and Identification Centre in Moria, on the island of Lesvos, as residents remained in COVID-19 lockdown. The fire broke out in a number of spots around the Moria refugee camp which has led authorities to suspect arson.
On 15 September, the Civil Protection Minister confirmed that five persons have been arrested in connection with the fire.
The camp was at more than four times its capacity and the fire has all but destroyed it, prompting close to 11,0001 refugees who had been living there to flee. More than 4,000 children, including over 400 unaccompanied children had been living in the camp. 407 unaccompanied children were transferred from Lesvos to Thessaloniki on three flights between the evening of 9 September and early morning on the next day. This week, an additional 584 asylum seekers have been transferred to the mainland.
The Greek Prime Minister has announced a four-month state of emergency on the island. The authorities arranged to accommodate some one thousand of the most vulnerable migrants immediately on a passenger ferry, and also quickly established a new temporary camp at Kara Tepe to host all other migrants. The camp is already operational, tents have been erected, basic medical facilities have been set up, and water and electricity have been secured.
The authorities have announced that all migrants must register at the new camp. As of 19 September, more than 7,000 migrants had already moved into their new tented accommodation, and more migrants are expected to move in over the coming days.
All migrants are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, and according to the authorities 174 migrants have tested positive so far. They are isolated at a separate quarantine structure at the camp.
Greece requested further assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on 14 September. In an immediate response, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Germany have offered hundreds of tents, blankets, winterisation kits and sleeping bags.