- Up to 12,000 people have become homeless in the fires that destroyed the Moriah refugee camp in Greece. It started after one ATM machine was shut down in the covid quarantine measure.
- The entire camp relied on bank machines for money. Food, soap and baby products are running out.
- The youth lit a small fire in protest, but they lost control.
- Sources on site told Insider how the entire camp was burned in just a few hours.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage to learn more..
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, at the Moriah refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, the protests turned in a terrible direction. completely.
Most of the camp was destroyed when a fire broke out the next morning. Almost 12,000 people lost their homes.
It all started with removing access to ATM machines that were dependent on money.
Covid arrives and blocks access to the banking machine.
There was an additional fire in the rest of the area on Wednesday night. Greek officials launched later that day to set up a home for the refugees. Meanwhile, fist fights and protests took place as refugees demanded to move out of Lesbos and frustrated residents tried to stop the construction of new homes.
Refugees had no intention of burning the camp where they lived, said Mohamed Akbar, the father of three Afghans, 42, who spoke with Insider on WhatsApp.
However, the coronavirus arrived and brought quarantine. The concentration camp’s forced quarantine was cut off at the ATM machine, the only banking facility that provides residents to all.
Moria was designed to briefly house 3,000 refugees from the war in Syria and northern Iraq in 2015. However, it became “short” permanent and by Wednesday 12,000 people lived there. Lesbos’ pre-immigration population was only 86,000 people.
Give a few hours for money
Akbar described the scene where an already overcrowded camp turned into hell after the facility was completely shut down after 35 residents tested positive for COVID. For many, “facilities” are just tents and plastic sheets.
Restrictions were imposed on who had to wait in line for how many hours to receive the family’s food rations, which put the camp’s already precarious food situation into chaos. Restrictions included the closure of ATM machines. Even when the machine was running, a long line was formed in front of the machine, as can be seen in the next photo in May.
—Mortaza (@MortazaBehboudi) May 14, 2020
Banking machines were the only way Moria residents could withdraw or receive money, as the camp was within walking distance to the nearest town. Simple tasks like getting food, soap or diapers suddenly became very difficult, and the camp came to rely on a faulty official handout system, sources told Insider.
People started to panic because they didn’t have the money to buy what they needed.
“Because the ATM machine was closed, we didn’t have money to buy food and the store wasn’t open,” Akbar said. “Sometimes the meal they give you won’t come. Families were hungry and babies needed milk,” he said.
Protests, which have become commonplace when thousands of people have been trapped in island camps for years, have been aimed at pressing authorities to reopen banks and move some families off the island to facilitate food distribution and reduce overcrowding.
Some young people started setting fire to small protests.
“The fire came from young boys who weren’t adults, some of them had no parents or family to control them, and they were causing problems with the police,” Akbar said in an account confirmed by several other witnesses.
Moria is nestled among the olive trees on the windy hillside. The wind quickly drove the flames into an area full of plastic tents. It has spread to propane gas containers that most families use to cook meals.
Greek officials say they deported those who set fires and began an investigation.
By Wednesday Officials have launched plans to move hundreds of unaccompanied minors to facilities on the mainland.. Until now, they have now refused homeless people to leave the island.
‘They want us to leave the island and we want to leave the island’
In a sortie to accommodate more than 10,000 people, he suddenly became homeless. In many cases, they sleep in fields and roadsides. Greece announced that a new facility will be built And refugees will be housed on ferries and naval ships sent to the field.
Islanders have complained about the facility for months. They were told it would be temporary 5 years ago. This week they joined a series of blockades and clashes with riot police sent from Athens to prevent further “temporary” solutions.
“They want us to leave the island and we want to leave the island,” Akbar said.