Athens (kath.net/KAP) After a fire in refugee camp Moria in Lesbos, which Pope Francis has visited in April, more than 3,000 residents have fled the hotspot on Monday night to other parts of the Aegean island. About 60 percent of the facilities were destroyed according to local information, by the fire, while nobody was injured.
The Greek police are convinced this is deliberate arson. 18 refugees and migrants were arrested, according to the Athens daily "Kathimerini" (Tuesday). They are expected to be responsible for the fires and for previous riots.
According to media reports, before the fire, refugees of different ethnicities had gotten into an argument. The mood was particularly fueled by rumors of an impending mass deportation of people back to Turkey. The precarious conditions in the overcrowded reception center played a role: On Lesbos, there are currently held around 5,650 refugees, while the accommodation there offers only room for 3,500.
Because of the fire camp residents were left homeless, and now according to estimates by the Mayor of Lesbos, Spyros Galinos, further escalation is threatened. He asked Athens for help; it must not ultimately be that only 15 municipalities throughout Greece should shoulder the entire refugee problem, Galinos criticized on Tuesday in a radio interview.
Moria reached the public's attention in the spring, as Pope Francis traveled to the camp and met refugees there. He spoke to them in solidarity with his visit, of courage and called on them to mutual affection and solidarity; surprisingly, he then took twelve Muslims from Syria on his return to Rome from Syria, including six children; in June he took nine other residents of Moria; two of them were Christians.
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org