Greek PM pledges permanent Lesbos migrant centre in wake of camp fire

THE Greek Prime Minister has pledged the government will build a permanent migrant reception centre on Lesbos in the wake of fires which devastated the island’s overcrowded Moria refugee camp last week.

“I want to say with absolute conviction that there will be a permanent reception and identification centre. I want to send that message to everyone”, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday.

The Prime Minister also called on the European Union for a shift in policy on dealing with the issue of migrant arrivals.

“We want to turn this problem into an opportunity,” Mitsotakis commented at a news briefing.

“Europe should be a lot more involved in the management of the new centre, wherever we finally decide it should be.”

Last week’s blazes at the Moria camp left nearly 13,000 people without shelter. Many have since had little choice but to sleep outdoors with not much in the way of access to food, water and sanitation, although the Greek authorities have begun taking in a good number at a temporary tented shelter near the Lesbos capital Mytilini.

Conditions at the Moria camp before the fires, which reports say could have been started on purpose by migrants protesting about Covid-19 rules, were in any case what some aid organisations described as “inhumane.”

It was home to around four times as many people than its official capacity.

The Greek PM’s promise to now build a better alternative to the camp on Lesbos suggests he is not prepared to take on board the objections of local residents who are vehemently opposed to a permanent migrant centre on their island.

Many of the migrants themselves have also said they don’t want a new centre on the island, but are demanding the chance to get off the island and go elsewhere to start building a new life.

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Written by

Cathy Elelman

Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.

Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.

Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.

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