KARA TEPE – Police on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday relocated more than a thousand more migrants who had been homeless since fires ravaged the country's largest refugee camp last week amid a local COVID-19 outbreak.
The number of people moved to the new army-built camp on the island reached 6,100, officials said, adding that a total of 187 so far have tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 12,000 migrants and refugees fled the fires that the Greek government maintains that a small group of Afghan migrants deliberately set last week to protest a virus lockdown at the Moria camp. Thousands have slept outdoors on a nearby roadside in the nights since the blazes.
Greece is one of the southern European countries that receives the greatest share of refugees and migrants from Africa and the Mideast. The European Union is preparing to issue proposals next week for a major overhaul of the 27-nation bloc's migration policies.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis discussed the proposals as well as EU aid for Lesbos migrants on a video call with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his office said.
Police began moving more people into the new camp early Friday. Some migrants carried infants on their backs or pulled plastic vegetable crates loaded with their belongings. Others used trash bins and strollers to transport their clothes and cooking equipment.
Government officials said they expected the operation to last through Sunday. Michalis Chrisochoidis, a minister in charge of public order, said that the fire-ravaged camp at Moria would be cleared. "Moria is over,” he told private Thema radio. “It will be bulldozed. It is something that should not be remembered. It should not remain in the mind or in the soul of anyone.”