Greek govt vows to improve refugee situation on island after fire

Updated: 2016-09-21 09:17


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Greek govt vows to improve refugee situation on island after fire

A migrant stands among the remains of a burned tent at the Moria migrant camp, after a fire that ripped through tents and destroyed containers during violence among residents, on the Lesvos island, Greece, Sept 20, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

MYTILENE, Greece - A day after a fire broke out at a refugee hot spot which left hundreds of people without shelter, the Greek government pledged to take immediate measures to improve the situation.

A ship is to be leased to operate as a floating hot spot at the port of Mytilene until the Moria accommodation center is fully functional again, the Ministry of Citizen Protection and the General Secretary of the Aegean and Island Policy announced on Tuesday.

Refugee and migrant families are the priority, the General Secretary of the Aegean and Island Policy Giannis Giannelis told Xinhua.

"The ship will have a capacity of over 1,000 people and will be used as a hostel in order for the situation to be eased, after yesterday's incidents," Giannelis said.

In addition, extra police forces will be sent to Lesvos, he said.

People were forced to flee Moria and many spent the night in the streets without shelter or food, when a fire broke out during clashes among refugees of different nationalities in the hot spot on Lesvos island.

The fire spread through the camp and destroyed 50 tents and three containers, including personal belongings. Nobody was hurt by the fire.

Dozens of people escaped through small openings in the fence.

Most of them left all their personal belongings behind and some even walked to reach the city of Mytilene.

The Greek government is seeking ways to decongest all the eastern Aegean islands which continue to receive immigrants and refugees, Giannelis added.

More than 10,000 people out of the 60,000 currently stranded in Greece, according to data released on Tuesday from the North Aegean Regional Police Department, have remained trapped on Lesvos, Chios, and Samos since March, when the EU-Turkey agreement to stem the influx was implemented.

During the last 24 hours, 65 immigrants and refugees have arrived on the northern Aegean islands.

Boats keep coming as tensions on the islands, in particular Lesvos, have dramatically risen lately.

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