Press Release – Moria fires

HELP REFUGEES CALLS ON GREEK GOVERNMENT TO CONDUCT IMMEDIATE COVID TESTING AND EVACUATION FOLLOWING FIRE IN MORIA REFUGEE CAMP

 

  • The organisation supports over 60 projects in Greece – over ten of which are in Lesvos. Services include medical and legal support, shelter and food distribution.
  • Organisation has long warned of the ‘failed hotspot approach’
  • CEO Josie Naughton hopes this “is a wakeup call to the European Commission” and asks for both Greek and European countries to “immediately address the humanitarian situation”

 

A devastating fire broke out in Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos in the early hours of this morning. Moria is the largest camp in Europe, housing 12,589 people. It is reported that around 70% of the camp has been destroyed with the vast majority of residents now homeless. Vital services such as medical facilities, COVID-19 isolation areas and asylum offices have been razed to the ground.

 

Painfully overcrowded living conditions and restricted movement since March, including a full quarantine for the past week, have led to rising tensions within the camp. The EU containment policy that traps tens of thousands of people on the Greek islands for months, sometimes even years, until their asylum case is processed has led to this unprecedented disaster.

 

Josie Naughton, Chief Executive Officer of Help Refugees said:

 

“This fire is a humanitarian catastrophe with almost 13,000 people now homeless in the middle of a deadly pandemic. The Greek government, supported by European countries, need to immediately address the humanitarian situation while averting a public health emergency.

 

“We are calling on the Greek government to conduct immediate rapid testing of the newly displaced population in a safe environment with access to food, water and medical care. Following testing, people should immediately be evacuated from the island to appropriate safe locations.

 

“We have long warned of the failed “hotspot approach” that has caged people in obscenely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. This is a wakeup call to the European Commission and shows the deeply inadequate system of European solidarity and responsibility-sharing.”

 

 


Notes to editors:

To arrange interviews please contact Duncan Bray on +44 797222 4445 or D.bray@woodrowcommunications.com

 


About Help Refugees.

Help Refugees has been part of the emergency response in Greece since October 2015 with staff on the ground. The organisation supports over 60 projects in Greece – over ten of which are in Lesvos. Services include medical and legal support, shelter and food distribution.

Since its inception in 2015, Help Refugees has provided vital humanitarian aid to over 1 million refugees across 17 countries. To date, Help Refugees have granted to over 200 such organizations, with the sum of grants amounting to almost $20 million.