Thousands of migrants are forced to sleep by the roadside in Lesbos

Thousands of migrants are forced to sleep by the roadside in Lesbos after their camp was burned down by a resident furious at covid quarantine rules

  • Thousands were forced to sleep rough last night after a fire ripped through the Moria refugee camp in Greece
  • The camp was home to around 12,500 people before Tuesday’s fire reduced it to ruins of melted tarpaulin 
  • Authorities believe the fire was started by a resident furious that 35 had been isolated due to coronavirus 
  • Police were called in to prevent the masses from making their way to the capital of Lesbos, Mytilene 
  • This morning desperate families were seen waking on the roadside amid frantic efforts to provide new tents

Thousands of migrants slept rough on the Greek island of Lesbos last night after a blaze razed their makeshift camp to the ground, sending them fleeing but with nowhere to go.

Families slept on roadsides and in supermarket parking lots and fields across the island, which was borne the brunt of the European migrant crisis since 2015.

There had been about 12,500 people in the camp. Tuesday night’s inferno at Moria sent thousands fleeing, reducing a camp notorious for its poor living conditions to a mass of smouldering steel and melted tent tarpaulin.

A boy sleeps with his face down on the road surrounded by other desperate migrants on Thursday in Mytilene after they fled an inferno which destroyed the refugee camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos, Greece

Young children asleep on the roadside on the Greek island of Lesbos this morning. A massive fire ravaged the island’s main migrant camp on Tuesday night leaving more than 12,000 asylum seekers homeless.

Hundreds this morning sleeping under blankets with their belongings with them after their refugee camp was ravaged by fire

A baby cries after waking up this morning on the roadside on the Greek island of Lesbos. Local officials are racing to find accommodation for 12,500 migrants after the fire 

Children rest their heads on the road this morning on the Greek island of Lesbos. Greek authorities on September 10 were racing to shelter thousands of asylum seekers left homeless on Lesbos after the island’s main migrant camp was gutted by back-to-back fires, which destroyed the official part of the camp housing 4,000 people. Another 8,000 lived in tents and makeshift shacks around the perimeter and many were badly damaged

A second fire broke out on Wednesday night, destroying whatever was left. Police reinforcements were brought in to prevent migrants from reaching the island’s main town of Mytilene, confining them to fields and roadsides.

Eight-year-old Congolese girl Valencia, who was barefoot, gestured to a Reuters reporter that she was hungry and asked for a biscuit. ‘Our home burned, my shoes burned, we don’t have food, no water.’

Both she and her mother Natzy Malala, 30, who has a newborn infant, slept on the side of the road.

Refugees and migrants sleep on the road near Mytilene, after a fire destroyed Greece’s largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on September 10, 2020

Refugees and migrants sleep on a road following a fire at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 10, 2020

A child wakes up after spending the night on the road near Mytilene after a fire destroyed Greece’s largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on September 10, 2020

Refugees and migrants sleep on the road near Mytilene, after a fire destroyed Greece’s largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on September 10, 2020

Families waking up on the roadside near Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos, on Thursday

A mother checks on her baby on Lesbos this morning

A family huddled together this morning

A couple sits covered with a blanket as refugees and migrants camp on a road following a fire at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos

A mother walks with her baby as dawn breaks over the roadside in Mytilene where thousands were forced to spend the night

‘There is no food, no milk for the baby,’ Natzy Malala said.

The migration ministry said it would take ‘all necessary steps’ to ensure that vulnerable groups and families had shelter, but these were expected to be met with stiff resistance from locals.

Authorities were already at loggerheads with locals over plans to replace Moria with a closed reception centre, which Lesbos residents fear would mean thousands of asylum seekers remaining their permanently.

A young boy is carried by his father in Mytilene, Greece, this morning after a night sleeping on the road

Refugees sleep on the road, close to Mytilene town, after a fire destroyed Moria Refugee Camp on the island of Lesbos on September 10, 2020

A young boy rubs from the sleep from his eyes as he sits with his family in the morning sunlight after spending a night on the roadside in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos

A father tends to his family this morning

Migrants rest as they spend the night on the road near Mytilene, after a fire destroyed Greece’s largest Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, early on September 10, 2020

Municipalities were at odds over the handling of the situation, said Costas Moutzouris, governor of the Northern Aegean. ‘There is no decision. It’s up in the air,’ he told Reuters.

A government official who declined to be named said that sheltering migrants on boats was not a safe solution and was sending the wrong message to migrants who would want to leave Lesbos.

Authorities are investigating whether Tuesday night’s fires were started deliberately after COVID-19 tests led to the isolation of 35 refugees.

The burnt out remains of the Moria refugee camp on Thursday

People carrying belongings flee flames after a major fire broke out in the Moria migrants camp on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, on September 9, 2020

People flee flames after a major fire broke out in the Moria migrants camp on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, on September 9, 2020

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