On April 26th and 27th, two fires broke out at the Vathy migrant camp on the Greek island of Samos.
As a result of the fires, one of which took place on the evening of April 26th and one in the early hours of April 27th, “around 200 people have been left homeless,” Migration Ministry Secretary Manos Logothetis told AFP.
A fire broke out in #Vathy camp, #Samos an hour ago leaving around 100 people without shelter. MSF teams are close to the camp & ready to offer medical care & psychological support to those affected by the fire. We cannot confirm any information regarding the cause of the fire. pic.twitter.com/oVQKS0eEyD
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) April 26, 2020
The Greek media outlet Ekathimerini reports that the fire broke out just outside the main camp in an area with shacks housing migrants as well as medical and support facilities.
The first fire was started “amid internal disputes (between residents)”, Logothetis stated.
The second fire was allegedly also fueled by migrants, but there is yet no confirmation for that.
In a report by state broadcaster ERT, police is seen detaining migrants, as well as an apparently unconscious migrant being carried by others to the street. There were no reports of injuries.
The Vathy camp on Samos is massively overcrowded, with nearly 7,000 people in a facility built to handle fewer than 650.
The island’s mayor, Giorgos Stanzos, has for months been pressing the authorities in Athens to evacuate the camp.
Stefan Cordes, a field coordinator on Samos with the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), confirmed the account of the incidents to Al Jazeera, putting the number of those left without shelter after the two fires at about 500.
He accused the government and the European Union of failing to take care of the migrants whose living conditions are believed to be the cause of the violence.
“They don’t have access to hygiene, water or good food,” Cordes said. “This makes their lives really difficult. The government and the European Union don’t take care of these people, who are here for a long time.
“We have to really consider that about 500 people are without shelter now and the authorities have to take care of these people and provide a space where these people can be safe.”
Another fire in the migrant camp on Chios, in earlier April, destroyed the facilities of the European asylum service, a camp canteen, warehouse tents and many housing containers in a riot started after a 47-year-old Iraqi woman died there.
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