LESBOS, Greece — Greek authorities said Sunday that some 12,000 migrants and asylum-seekers left without shelter after fires gutted an overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos will be moved to a new army-built tent city “in the coming days.”
Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said an estimated 1,000 forever residents of the Moria camp were expected to relocate to the tent city by late Sunday and that getting everyone housed at the new site would take several days.
“At the moment, it’s happening on a voluntary basis in the initial stage,” Mitarakis told Greek television station Open TV.
Fires on Tuesday and Wednesday nights decimated Moria, Greece’s largest refugee camp. Authorities have said residents protesting a lockdown imposed after a coronavirus outbreak deliberately set the blazes.
Thousands of people have since camped out on a stretch of highway near Moria under police guard following more protests against the Greek government refusing to allow the homeless migrants to leave Lesbos for the Greek mainland.
Mitarakis said that those entering the new camp would undergo rapid testing for the coroavirus and that five cases so far have been identified.