A large fire has engulfed Greece’s largest migrant camp, Moria, on the island of Lesbos. Fire broke out in more than three places in a short space of time. About 25 firefighters with 10 engines battled the flames as migrants were evacuated. Some suffered injuries from smoke exposure. Police cordoned off roads leading from the camp to prevent fleeing migrants entering nearby towns. Lesbos deputy governor Aris Hatzikomninos reportedly told local radio the camp had been “completely destroyed”. Michalis Fratzeskos, deputy mayor for civil protection, told ERT the blaze was “premeditated”. Thousands are now without accommodation and the government has declared a four-day state of emergency. Moria is home to nearly 13,000 people, more than four times the number it can officially hold. Migrants from more than 70 different countries live there.
Human rights groups have repeatedly attacked the poor conditions at the site. Authorities placed the camp under quarantine last week after a Somali migrant tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 35 confirmed cases. A government spokesman said reports of arson were under investigation. Government Spokesman Stelio Petsas said a state of emergency was being declared on the island and that Moria’s inhabitants would be banned from leaving the island over coronavirus concerns.