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Investigation into EU’s role needed after fire destroys infamous Moria refugee camp, say GCR and Oxfam

A fire has destroyed most of the notorious refugee camp of Moria in Lesbos, Greece. The EU-sponsored ‘hotspot’ camp hosted more than 12,000 people, despite an official capacity of less than 3,000.

Reacting to the news, Spyros-Vlad Oikonomou, Advocacy Officer at the Greek Council for Refugees, said:

“This fully preventable tragedy should trigger a U-turn in the EU’s and Greece’ response to the arrival of people seeking asylum in Europe, which has clearly failed.

“The announced transfer of all unaccompanied children in Moria to the Greek mainland is a first important step to alleviating this humanitarian crisis. EU governments must now immediately support Greece in moving all people seeking asylum from the islands’ refugee camps to safe places across Europe.”

Oxfam’s Europe Migration Campaign Manager Evelien van Roemburg, said:

“The ongoing humanitarian tragedy that led to this devastating fire is the consequence of years of a misguided response from the EU and its member states to the arrival of people fleeing conflict and persecution. Without ignoring the responsibility of the Greek state, the European Parliament must launch an investigation into the policies and practices of the EU and its member states which have  led to the complete mismanagement of the EU-sponsored hotspots on the Greek islands.

Notes to editors:

  • Spokespeople are available in Athens, Brussels and the Netherlands.
  • The facility for unaccompanied children in Moria camp has been completely destroyed. The European Commission announced this morning that the EU would finance the immediate transfer and accommodation on the mainland of the 400 unaccompanied children that still remain on the island.
  • More than 6,000 people have become homeless, as the fires destroyed both parts of the official camp and the tents in the over-spill areas surrounding the camp.