IOM Mobilizes Emergency Assistance and Transfer of Children After Fire at Moria Camp, Lesvos

Posted: 
09/09/20
Themes: 
Children, Humanitarian Emergencies, Others

Athens - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is saddened by the tragic fire that broke out overnight (09-09) at the Moria Reception and Identification Center (RIC) on the Greek island of Lesvos. While initial reports suggest that there are no fatalities, over 12,600 migrants and refugees, including 400 unaccompanied children and many families, are now displaced, and the center reportedly 80 per cent destroyed. 

“This devastating tragedy compounds the already existing challenges and difficult conditions at Moria due to overcrowding and COVID-19,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.  

“We are doing everything we can to support the Greek authorities and the affected migrants and refugees, to ensure their immediate care and safety as we work together on longer-term solutions.” 

IOM is mobilizing to provide immediate support to the authorities and people affected, particularly the unaccompanied children. The Organization, together with partners, has committed to transporting 400 unaccompanied children from Lesvos to suitable accommodations on the mainland and escort them during the transfer.   

“We welcome the European Commission’s decision to finance the crucial movement of 400 unaccompanied children from the island and remain committed to further assisting with the decongestion of the islands and relocation of vulnerable children and families to other EU Member States. Solidarity with Greece and the people of Lesvos is needed now more than ever,” said DG Vitorino. 

IOM is also deploying a team, including interpreters, to reinforce staff on the island in setting up mobile storage units to provide urgent assistance and shelter for those left stranded after the fire, in coordination with the Reception and Identification Service. 

Together with  UNHCR, UNICEF and the European Asylum Support Office, and in close coordination with  the Greek government and financial support from the European Commission, IOM has been organizing the relocation of unaccompanied children and other vulnerable asylum seekers from Greece to other European Union (EU) Member States with the twin objectives to support vulnerable groups and enhance solidarity among EU Member States and associated countries. This year, 641 people have been safely relocated from Greece to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal.  

 

For more information please contact: 

In Greece: Christine Nikοlaidou, cnikolaidou@iom.int, +30 6947833412  

In Brussels: Ryan Schroeder, rschroeder@iom.int, + 32 492 25 02 34   

In Geneva: Safa Msehli, smsehli@iom.int, +41 794035526    

 

  • Damage to moria camp in Lesvos Greece after fire. Photo: IOM Greece