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Thousands Evacuated in a Massive "Destructive" Fire at a Migrant Camp on Covid Lockdown in Greece


Huge fire broke out has completely destroyed Greece's largest migrant camp, the overcrowded Moria facility on the island of Lesbos.

About 25 firefighters with 10 engines battled the flames as migrants were evacuated. Some suffered injuries from smoke exposure.

"The Moria camp no longer exists. The camp has been completely destroyed. The containers and tents have been completely destroyed. The fires are now out. Many migrants and refugees are now back at the camp and looking for their belongings," Moutafis said.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, according to Greek authorities. The camp is under lockdown after 35 people tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.

A state of emergency has also been declared on Lesbos amid fears that more than 12,000 migrants who called the camp home will spread the disease by fleeing into nearby villages.

Greek news agency ANA said the fires had started after a revolt by asylum seekers who were to be placed in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus or coming into close contact with an infected patient. 

Refugee support group Stand by Me Lesvos said on Twitter it had received reports that Greek locals on the island had blocked fleeing asylum seekers from heading into a nearby village.  

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas warned that authorities face a 'titanic' effort to shelter the asylum seekers, as well as track down and isolate dozens of confirmed coronavirus infections among them.

Administration offices, a clinic inside the camp and thousands of tents and were damaged by the fire, according to local news site Lesvospost.

Police blocked migrants heading to the port town of Mytilene, leaving them stuck on the road.

Moria is home to nearly 13,000 people, more than four times the number it can officially hold.

Lesbos deputy governor Aris Hatzikomninos reportedly told local radio the camp had been "completely destroyed". Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is holding an emergency meeting on the fire.

The EU has agreed to finance the transfer of 400 unaccompanied teenagers and children to the mainland and their accommodation, according to EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.

"The safety and shelter of all people in Moria is a priority," she tweeted.

The camp was placed under quarantine last week after a migrant tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 35 confirmed cases.

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