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Greece Update, Moria Fire Emergency, 25 September 2020

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is supporting the government-led response after a series of fires destroyed the Reception and Identification Centre in Moria (Lesvos).

UNHCR is scaling up immediate support for all asylum-seekers affected and urges for longterm solutions to address overcrowding on Greek islands

BACKGROUND

The fires on 8-10 September destroyed all accommodations in Moria’s Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) and the adjacent “Olive Grove” area on Lesvos island. Some 12,000 asylum-seekers were left homeless overnight.

Greek authorities are leading and coordinating the immediate response. An emergency site close to Mytilene, in the area of Kara Tepe, was set up within days to temporarily house affected asylum-seekers. From 17 to 24 September,
Greek authorities moved some 9,400 asylum-seekers to the new emergency site, while several hundred vulnerable asylum-seekers have been transferred to safe accommodations on the island or relocated to the mainland. Authorities have indicated that residents of the emergency site will be able to access asylum and other procedures at a date yet to be confirmed.

UNHCR teams and partners are providing asylum-seekers with emergency shelter and core relief items. The Office is also supporting authorities with technical advice and expertise regarding site set-up and planning.

On 24 September, UNHCR called for urgent action to improve conditions and ensure humane solutions for asylum seekers in the new emergency site and in reception centres on the other Aegean Islands. UNHCR continues advocating for comprehensive solutions, calling for continuous European support and responsibility-sharing.