During the nights on 8 and 9 of September, devastating fires swept across the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. The camp is now burned completely down. Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers are now left in dire need, and Greek authorities have placed the island of Lesvos under a state of emergency.
“We are very concerned about the situation of thousands of asylum seekers who have been rendered homeless and without access to basic needs,” says Alba Cauchi, DRC’s country director in Greece.
”While we currently work on nine mainland sites, we are preparing for any increased needs that may arise and we are assessing in coordination with other partners how we can assist directly.”
DRC has been present in Greece since 2015, contributing to the emergency humanitarian response in the wake of the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015 and 2016. We are preparing to support the refugees and asylum seekers who are now left with nothing.
While the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos officially has the capacity to house less than 3,000 people, more than 12,000 people lived in and around the camp at the time of the fire.
The poor living conditions at Moria have long been criticized by NGO’s including the DRC.
“The fire in the Moria refugee camp is a humanitarian tragedy of considerable proportions. But it is also a tragic reminder of the possible outcome of allowing a desperate situation to go on for too long,” says Claus Larsen, DRC’s regional director for Europe.
“This is yet another event highlighting the urgent need for dignified and sustainable solutions for refugees and asylum seekers within the EU. This is a reminder to European leaders of the need for solidarity and responsibility-sharing within the European Union.”