- As many as 12,000 people were left homeless after the Covid quarantine action blocked a single ATM machine, leveling the Moria refugee camp in Greece.
- The whole camp was dependent on the bank machine for money. The supply of food, soap and children became scarce.
- The youths lit small fires in protest, but they got out of control.
- Sources at the scene told Insiders how the entire camp was set on fire in just a few hours.
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After 10pm on Tuesday night, September 8, a demonstration at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos took a terrible turn, as a handful of small fires were lit by frustrated protesters, spreading it into a tightly crowded facility. Absolutely.
The next morning, when the flames were set, most of the camp was destroyed. About 12,000 people became homeless.
It started with the removal of the access of the ATM machine on which the whole camp depended for money.
Kovid arrives, cutting off the cutting aces of the bank machine
The rest of the site caught additional fire Wednesday night. Greek authorities arranged accommodation for the refugees later that day. Meanwhile, the refugees demanded to move away from Lesbos and frustrated residents tried to prevent new houses from being built.
Mohammad Akbar, a 42-year-old Afghan father of three who spoke to Insider via WhatsApp, said there was no intention to burn down the camp where the refugees live.
But then the coronavirus arrived, bringing with him a quarantine. The isolation imposed on the camp cut off its residents from a single ATM machine that served them all – they had the only banking facility.
Moriah was created in 2015 to accommodate 3,000 people, as waves of refugees fled the wars in Syria and northern Iraq. But “soon” became permanent and by Wednesday there were about 12,000 people living there. The pre-migration population of Lesbos was only 86,000.
Hours-long lines for money
Akbar described a scenario in which a crowd camp had already gone to hell after 35 residents tested positive for COVID, suggesting a total lockdown of facilities. For many, the “features” are just tents and plastic sheets.
Restrictions were imposed on who could stand in line for hours to get the family’s food rations – and this pushed the camp’s already vague food situation into chaos. The restrictions included keeping the ATM machine closed. Even while operating the machine, long lines were formed in front of it, as these photos from May show:
તાMartaza (Mortzabehbaudi) May 14, 2020
The bank machine was the only way that Moria residents could withdraw or receive money, as the camp is within walking distance of a nearby town. So simple tasks – such as getting food, soap or diapers – suddenly became very difficult, and the camp became dependent on a defective official handout system, sources told Insider.
People panicked because they did not have the money to buy the things they needed.
“The ATM machine was closed so there was no money to buy food, no shops were opened,” Akbar said. “And sometimes the food they give you doesn’t come. Families were hungry and the kids needed milk,” he said.
Stuck in the island camp for thousands of years, the protests were aimed at reopening the bank, facilitating food distribution and forcing some families to relocate to reduce congestion.
The fire begins
Some youths started small protests.
Akbar was told by several other witnesses in the account that the fire was not from young adult boys, some not from anyone’s parents or family, they were putting the police in trouble.
Moria is set among the olive trees on a windy hill – and the wind quickly carried the flames into areas filled with plastic tents. It is spread in propane gas canisters used by most households for cooking meals.
Greek authorities have promised to deport the arsonists and say they have opened an investigation.
By Wednesday Officials began plans to relocate a number of minors to facilities on the mainland.. So far, they have refused to allow most of the now homeless refugees from the island.
‘They want us to leave the island and we want to leave the island.’
More than 10,000 people were suddenly made homeless in the rubble of homes – in many cases sleeping on farms and on roadsides – Greece announced that a new facility would be built And those refugees will be kept on ferries and on boats.
Islanders have been complaining about the facility for months. He was told it would be temporary more than five years ago. This week they were engaged in a series of blockades and clashes with riot police, who had left Athens to prevent further “temporary” measures.
“They want us to leave the island and we want to leave the island,” Akbar said.
To donate to the Relief Fund for Immigrants to Greece, visit the website for Madison Sans Frontieres.
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