Thursday, October 3, 2019

Greece: At least 2 dead as migrants clash with police and firefighters at camp in Lesbos

At least 2 people have been killed after migrants in a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos set fires to housing units and clashed with police and firefighters on Sunday.  

According to a report from Athens News Agency, that quoted police sources, a woman and child died as a result of the chaos and fires at the overcrowded Moria camp on the island of Lesbos. 5 others were sent to hospital for injuries suffered from the fires and fighting. Currently, the death toll's still unclear with 1 migrant eyewitness saying that 3 people died due to the blaze that spread across 6 or 7 housing units.  

According to police reports, the fires began around 4:45 pm after several migrants set fires to a housing unit in the center where the refugees live. When firefighters attempted to respond to put out the fire, migrants attacked them so they couldn’t.  

Later that day, the camp saw group clashes between migrants of different nationalities and religions, as thousands attempted to leave the camp. To help contain the violent clashes between migrants and local police, additional police forces were deployed to the camp on the Greek Island.  

"The situation is tense," Lesbos Mayor Stratis Kytelis said. "There's information about a dead mom and her kid. We haven’t been able to confirm that yet."  

Although Moria’s facilities were designed to hold 3,000 migrants, it’s currently hosting close to 13,000. Recently, Greece has seen a sharp rise in the number of migrants arriving on its shores. Last month alone, Greece saw close to 7,000 migrants arrive by boat, the highest number since 2016.  

The number of illegal arrivals, that once averaged 60 per day, has now reached an average of 278 per day. This year alone, over 22,000 migrants are believed to have landed in Greece. On Sunday, the Greek government announced that it was planning to discuss a new asylum draft law to address the renewed migrant crisis.

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