Fire breaks out at Greece's overcrowded Moria refugee camp

At least 25 firemen with 10 engines, aided by police, were battling the flames both inside and outside the facility

Published - September 09, 2020 10:01 am IST - LESBOS, Greece

Refugees and migrants carrying their belongings are silhouetted as they flee from a fire burning at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 9, 2020.

Refugees and migrants carrying their belongings are silhouetted as they flee from a fire burning at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 9, 2020.

A fire broke out at Greece's overcrowded migrant camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos early on Wednesday, fire brigade officials said.

There were no reports of injuries so far, while the cause of the blaze which burned tents and containers was not immediately clear, a fire brigade official said.

A police official said that migrants have been taken to safety. People were seen leaving the camp, carrying their luggage, Reuters witnesses said.

At least 25 firemen with 10 engines, aided by police, were battling the flames both inside and outside the facility, the fire brigade said, adding that firemen were pushed back by migrants during their efforts to put out the fire.

Refugees and migrants carry their belongings as they flee from a fire burning at the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 9, 2020.

Refugees and migrants carry their belongings as they flee from a fire burning at the Moria camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 9, 2020.

The Moria facility, which hosts more than 12,000 people — more than four times its stated capacity — has been frequently criticised by aid groups for poor living conditions.

The facility was placed under quarantine last week after authorities confirmed that an asylum-seeker had tested positive for the coronavirus . Confirmed infections have risen to 35 since then.

Lesbos, which lies just off the Turkish coast, was on the front line of a massive movement of refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015-2016. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, since March 1, all migrants reaching the island have been quarantined away from the camps.

In the Moria camp, aid groups have warned that social distancing and basic hygiene measures are impossible to implement due to the living conditions.

Wildfires fanned by strong winds were also burning in two other areas on the island.

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