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Heartbreaking Photos Show Thousands Displaced After A Huge Fire Destroyed A Refugee Camp

The overcrowded Moria camp in Lesbos has been destroyed, leaving 12,000 people sleeping in the streets.

Posted on September 11, 2020, at 11:36 a.m. ET

Fires have ravaged Europe’s largest migrant camp, leaving about 12,000 people without shelter.

Fanned by high winds, the blaze first broke out Tuesday at Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Large stretches of the camp burned down. Only a medical facility and some small clusters of tents were left standing, according to the New York Times. No deaths were initially reported.

The fires continued through Wednesday, leaving most of the camp’s residents homeless. Police reinforcements were brought in to prevent people fleeing the fires from reaching the island’s main town of Mytilene, Al Jazeera reported. The camp’s residents, many of them refugees who fled Afghanistan or Syria, have been forced to sleep along roadsides and in fields and parking lots.

The notoriously overcrowded camp had been in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear how the fires started. Greek authorities said the fires may have been lit as a protest against mandatory quarantine measures. Some migrants told the BBC the fires broke out after scuffles between camp residents and Greek forces, and blamed “far-right Greeks” for the blaze.

Human rights groups warned the camp was not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic because it was dangerously overcrowded, with a lack of access to water, healthcare, and sanitation. Residents had protested the appalling living conditions.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on the European Union to take action to help solve the housing crisis. France, Germany, and the Netherlands have so far offered to take in some migrants.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

People flee flames after a major fire broke out in the Moria migrants camp on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, Sept. 9, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

A migrant holds a girl as they flee a fire burning in the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos on Sept.d 9, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

A man runs from flames after a major fire broke out in the Moria migrants camp on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, Sept. 9, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris / AP

A migrant looks the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020.

Str / Getty Images

This aerial view taken on Sept. 10, 2020, shows the burnt Moria refugee camp in the island of Lesbos.

Byron Smith / Getty Images

An asylum-seeker records fires which continue to rage inside of Moria camp on Sept. 10, 2020 in Moria.

Byron Smith / Getty Images

An Afghan asylum-seeking boy looks on as fires continue to rage inside of Moria camp on Sept. 10, 2020 in Moria.

Elias Marcou / Reuters

A migrant carries her belongings following a fire at the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris / AP

Burnt pots lie on the ground after a fire in the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020.

Socrates Baltagiannis / Socrates Baltagiannis/picture-al

Two men are standing in the burnt-out refugee camp Moria between corrugated sheets that were deformed by the fire, Sept. 10, 2020.

Socrates Baltagiannis / Socrates Baltagiannis/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

A man walks among the remains of the burnt-out refugee camp Moria, Sept. 10, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

People walk in the burnt camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos after a major fire broke out, on Sept. 9, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris / AP

A migrant woman sits on a burned bed in the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 10, 2020.

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

A migrant pulls a girl lying on a cart, following a fire at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 11, 2020.


Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

Migrants sleep on the ground as they spend the night on a road near Mytilene after a fire destroyed Greece's largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on Sept. 10, 2020.

Socrates Baltagiannis / Socrates Baltagiannis/picture-al

Women line up to get food, near the burnt-out refugee camp Moria, Sept. 10, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

Migrants gather during a food distribution two days after Greece's biggest and most notorious migrant camp, Moria, was destroyed by fire, Sept. 10, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

Migrants gather during a food distribution two days after Greece's biggest and most notorious migrant camp, Moria, was destroyed by fire, Sept. 10, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris / AP

Migrants take part in a rally near Mytilene town, on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 11, 2020.

Socrates Baltagiannis / Socrates Baltagiannis/picture-al

A girl queues up to get food, near the burnt out refugee camp Moria, Sept. 10, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

Migrants rest as they spend the night on the road near Mytilene, after a fire destroyed Greece's largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on Sept. 11, 2020.

Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images

Migrants sleep on the ground as they spend the night on a road near Mytilene after a fire destroyed Greece's largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on Sept. 10, 2020.

Petros Giannakouris / AP

Migrants walk at the burned Moria refugee after a fire, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020.

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

A boy with two water cans sits next to destroyed shelters following a fire at the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020.

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

A man holds a baby as refugees and migrants wait to board a bus following a fire at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, Sept. 10, 2020.





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