On the night of Tuesday, September the 8th, multiple fires broke out at the Moria Reception and Identification Center. These fires were allegedly started by asylum seekers due to the quarantine imposed to the camp after 35 asylum seekers were found positive for COVID-19. Following an investigation by the Hellenic Police, 4 adult Afghans and 2 unaccompanied minors were arrested and brought before the Prosecutor accused of causing the multiple fires.
Thanks to the immediate intervention of the staff, the police and the fire brigade, the camp was evacuated, and the fires were brought under control within a few hours. However, the administration premises, the premises of the Asylum Service and other administrative facilities were destroyed. Another casualty of the fire was the intensive care unit, part of the new health unit. However, the next day, Wednesday 9 September, the arson continued at noon and during the night, resulting in the complete destruction of the Moria RIC.
The main priorities of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum were the transfer of unaccompanied minors to an area outside the camp. All necessary security measures were taken to evacuate the RIC, in order to ensure the lives of the residents and the staff. No injuries or casualties were reported. Within a few hours, 406 unaccompanied children were transported to Northern Greece. Tents were immediately moved to Lesbos, to first host families and vulnerable groups and then the rest of the asylum seekers.
Now the tents that have been placed can accommodate all the residents, forming zones according to their nationality.
In the temporary RIC of Lesvos there is now electricity, food, wifi, medical and nursing supplies, as well as all the administrative offices that existed at the now destroyed RIC of Moria. Tests for Covid-19 are being carried out for those entering the new camp.
From 21st of September on, the interviews for the examination of asylum applications will start again. The previous waiting list for an interview has been canceled, and now a new order is kept based on the day of arrival at the RIC of Lesbos.