ATHENS — When fires tore through the Moria camp for migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos final week, about 12,000 people were displaced and left to sleep on the perimeters of roads, in parking tons or in graveyards.
A brief tent camp has been erected for them, with the primary arrivals trickling into the ability over the weekend. And on Thursday, the police started shifting extra folks into the camp in an effort to hurry up the method.
The brand new facility will provide speedy shelter to hundreds in determined want, however rights teams say the transfer needs to be a brief repair whereas Europe comes up with a extra complete resolution for the hundreds of migrants and refugees arriving on the continent.
Because the police started the operation to maneuver extra folks to the ability, they had been met with some resistance. Movies shared on-line and broadcast on Greek tv confirmed some armed officers standing by as others in masks and hazmat fits as a safety in opposition to the coronavirus tried to steer migrants to maneuver into the brand new camp. Many migrants carried their meager belongings in plastic luggage or dragged strollers piled with garments.
Stelios Petsas, a authorities spokesman, mentioned at a media briefing that 1,150 migrants had been transferred in the course of the police operation. About 3,000 folks are actually within the new camp, which may host all these displaced by the hearth, in line with Greece’s migration ministry.
Greek officers insisted that the operation to maneuver folks into the short-term camp was being completed with the utmost care and in the most effective pursuits of these displaced by the hearth.
Michalis Chrysochoidis, the minister for citizen safety, mentioned the migrants and refugees had been being moved “from abandonment to care, from public well being dangers and coronavirus to safety and management, from confusion to order.”
However the assist group Docs With out Borders expressed concern concerning the interruption of medical care in the course of the transfer, saying that the Greek police had denied their workers entry to migrants as they had been being transferred.
“A number of folks want medical care however we can not method them? Why are they obstructing us?” the group wrote on Twitter on Thursday. At round midday, the group mentioned it had managed to reopen its clinic.
Earlier than the fires final week, Moria was the biggest refugee camp in Europe, lengthy affected by squalid situations and overcrowded tents. Since 2015, it had been crammed with refugees and migrants who had risked their lives to cross the Aegean Sea into Greece. A lot of the present group are from Afghanistan and had been ready on the island as their asylum purposes are processed.
The camp was locked down after a coronavirus outbreak, prompting protests amongst residents and main some to deliberately set hearth to the camp. Six Moria residents, all Afghan residents, have been charged with arson in reference to the fires.
Rights teams and nations on the frontline of arrivals, together with Greece, have lengthy referred to as for a complete Europe-wide method to the disaster, and final week’s fires have strengthened that decision. Germany agreed this week to take in more than 1,500 people displaced by the blazes.
Photos of the new facility on Lesbos present dozens of white tents emblazoned with the brand of the United Nations Refugee Company dotting a hillside close to the place the sprawling Moria camp as soon as stood.
Philippe Leclerc, the company’s consultant in Greece, said throughout a go to to Lesbos on Wednesday that the group had labored with the native authorities to erect the short-term tents.
The company “can also be advocating for long-term options, with steady European assist and responsibility-sharing,” Mr. Leclerc said, including that overcrowded reception facilities on Lesbos and different Greek islands “have to be decongested and their situations improved.”
In an interview on the sidelines of a convention in Athens on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis mentioned Europe’s migration disaster was too massive for Greece to deal with alone.
“The tragic Moria hearth introduced this to the forefront,” he mentioned. “I believe it’s clear to everybody that we will’t fail twice as Europe.”