Greece’s migration minister said today that new migrant facilities that will replace island camps will operate under strict security, following the fire at Moria camp on Lesbos that has left thousands homeless.
Greek police have detained six migrants over a fire that razed Moria refugee camp to the ground, the government said on Tuesday, as thousands of displaced people have refused to move to a new temporary tent camp and demanded to leave Lesbos.
More than 12,000 people were left without shelter, proper sanitation or access to food and water after a fire tore through Moria last Wednesday.
Late on Tuesday a fire broke out in a forest near a migrants camp on the island of Samos. Police have detained 3 migrants for questioning.
Greece plans to close overcrowded camps on Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Chios, and replace them with smaller reception centres, where migrants would be held until their asylum status is processed. If they do not qualify they will be deported.
Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said Lesbos security will be heightened after the fires and the new centres being built will be heavily guarded and “closed” – movement in and out of the centres will be heavily restricted.
“The recent fires at the facilities of Mytilene, Samos, and in recent months in Chios demonstrate the need to immediately close the chaotic open migrant and refugee reception centres and to create closed controlled centres which will offer humane conditions. With double fencing, controlled entrance systems, surveillance and fire security systems. We cannot allow delinquents to perform deviant acts, these actions are not acceptable in our country. For all the fires there have been arrests”, he added.
Only some 1,000 people have entered the new temporary tent camp set up by authorities on Lesbos, and authorities continue to try to convince migrants to enter the facility.
Resisting migrants want to leave Greece for other European countries.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated a call for more help from the European Union, which has struggled to find a unified approach to the migrant crisis at its borders, saying it was time for “tangible solidarity” from Europe.
Government officials in Berlin said Germany could take in up to 1,500 people stranded by the fire.
Only a few hundred migrants, mainly unaccompanied minors, have been moved off Lesbos.
Greek officials have said there will be no mass transfers.