Moria Camp: Statement on Fires That Have Destroyed Largest Camp for Migrants on Lesbos

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Sept. 9, 2020)—In response to the fires that have destroyed Moria Camp, the largest camp for migrants on the island on Lesbos, Karen Mets, Save the Children’s Senior Advisor for Children on the Move, said:

“The fire in Moria Camp is absolutely devastating. Thousands of children have been left on the streets, without shelter, and at high risk of violence and exploitation. Unaccompanied children left the burning camp on their own and are now desperately searching for a safe place to go. They are scared, hungry, and cold. Many families have lost the few possessions they owned, and now have no food, no water, and no protection. 

“This fire is the result of an inhumane policy that has left tens of thousands enduring dire conditions in overcrowded camps for five years—often with no access to running water or other essential services. The majority of those living in Moria come from conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and have experienced unimaginable suffering. They came to Europe in search of safety, but instead they ended up living in destitution. Save the Children has documented the self-harm and substance abuse that many children turn to as they lose all hope. 

“This is not a Greek problem; it is a European problem. Now is the time for member states of the European Union (EU) to step up and bring these children to safety. The recent relocation system established by the European Commission needs to be scaled up immediately and European countries must ensure that families can finally live in dignity. 

“This tragedy once again shows that the hotspots in Greece cannot serve as a model for the upcoming EU Migration and Asylum Pact. We cannot allow children and their families to face more suffering, fear, and detention at Europe’s borders.” 

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