After a series of fires destroyed the Moria camp on Lesvos Island, home to over 12,000 migrants and refugees, the Greek government built a new emergency camp near Kara Tepe, where 9,000 refugees are now housed.
The thousands of migrants had been left to sleep on the streets after the destruction of the camp, the largest such camp in Europe, in early September.
Six migrants from Afghanistan, including two minors, were arrested under suspicion of starting the fires out of frustration after lockdown measures were put in place in Moria. An outbreak of the virus had been discovered in the overcrowded camp.
The new shelter is set up in a wide-open space close to the sea, and the tents for refugees and migrants are large and family-sized.
The new area had been used as a firing range for the Greek Army in the past.
Reportedly, the camp has a capacity of 8,000 people. While still overcrowded, with 9,000 refugees currently housed there, it is an improvement over Moria, which had a capacity of 2,700 and housed over 13,000 at one point. Approximately 12,500 were living there at the time of the fires.
The government’s mission to move the refugees to the new camp is coming to an end on Saturday, as 9,000 refugees have now been successfully settled there.
The operation began on Thursday when police officers gathered migrants from along the roadsides and brought them to the new camp. A group of 70 female officers helped escort women and children to the new shelter.
Before entering the new camp, refugees underwent mandatory Covid-19 testing, and 213 of them were found to be positive for the virus. These individuals have been moved to a special quarantine unit of the camp.
After the fire at the camp, European states have expressed willingness to help Greece handle the refugee crisis in order to avoid another situation like Moria, notorious for its squalid conditions.
Germany has offered to take in 1,533 refugees from the Greek islands who have had their asylum applications approved.