After a devastating fire, the situation on Lesvos remains tense

The Greek government is sending more troops to the island of Lesbos. 300 tents are to serve as temporary accommodation for the migrants. The people are desperate.

On the Greek island of Lesbos, the situation remains tense, even after the opening of the first replacement accommodation for refugees from the burned-down Moria camp. The Greek government sent more police units and armored SUVs to the island on Sunday.

More than 300 people were able to move into a temporary tent camp. Corona tests showed that seven of them are infected. However, thousands of migrants still live on the streets. Many desperately resist being brought back to camp.

Some migrants are said to have put others under pressure

On Sunday, Greek media reported that some migrants prevented others from moving to the newly built camp. This was also confirmed by an employee of an aid organization of the German news agency. Greek citizenship protection minister Michalis Chrysohoidis addressed the militant migrants with a warning: Greece was a rule of law and even the slightest illegal action would not be accepted. Anyone who prevents others from entering storage must face the consequences.

Greece remains committed to its strategy of not allowing refugees on the mainland other than the unaccompanied minors who have already flown out of Moria. On the one hand, this is not provided for in the refugee pact between the EU and Turkey; Athens also fears riots and arson in other camps will occur if the migrants in Lesvos are successful in their resistance. The vast majority want to go to the mainland and then to Central and Northern Europe.

Among the more than 12,000 people who have been homeless in the Moria refugee camp since Wednesday’s fire, there are countless families with thousands of minors. Many of them depend on the protection of the camp because they no longer have a roof over their heads, nor have access to sanitation or running water. According to media reports, an aggressive group of mostly Afghan migrants is responsible for unrest, arson and threats against other migrants.

How many people are infected with the coronavirus?

Deputy Minister of Migration Notis Mitarakis said on TV on Sunday that food, sanitation and health care would be provided in the new camp. He assumes the whole situation will calm down and improve within days. The seven corona-infected people have been taken to a remote part of the camp for isolation.

It is not yet clear whether and how much the virus has been able to spread among humans. Before the great fire of last Wednesday, 35 migrants tested positive. In the chaos that followed, they were no longer to be found. On Saturday, a 20-day-old baby from an Afghan family with corona symptoms came to the island hospital. Later it was taken to Athens with its mother.

Despite the misery, Pope Francis called on Europe to take action. The 83-year-old recalled a visit to Lesvos in Rome in 2016 and his then call for “a humane reception of women and men, migrants and refugees, those seeking asylum in Europe”.

Meanwhile, the German debate on the admission of refugees continued. SPD chairman Saskia Esken demanded in the “Bild am Sonntag”: “Germany must take the lead here and can also agree to accept more refugees, regardless of the decision of other EU countries.” The announcement by Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) to take in 100 to 150 unaccompanied minors in a first step is not enough.

Green group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said in the same newspaper: “Germany must lead by example, preferably together with other Europeans in a coalition of the willpower.” Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Andreas Geisel (SPD), proposed a crisis summit for both the federal government and for states and municipalities that were willing to accept in the “Tagesspiegel am Sonntag”.

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