The whole camp depended on one machine for money. Food, soap and baby supplies are in short supply.
- The fire, which engulfed the Moria refugee camp in Greece, left up to 12,000 people homeless, after an ATM machine was blocked during a Govt isolation operation.
- The whole camp depended on the banking machine for money. Food, soap and baby supplies are in short supply.
- The young men lit a small fire in protest, but they were out of control.
- Incident sources told Insider how the entire camp was set on fire within a few hours.
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The next morning, when the fire broke out, most of the camp was destroyed. Nearly 12,000 people were homeless.
It started by removing access to the ATM machine, in which the entire camp relied on money.
Covid arrives and disconnects access to the banking machine
An additional fire broke out Wednesday night in the rest of the site. Greek authorities scoured the day to arrange housing for the refugees. Meanwhile, frustration and protests erupted as refugees demanded to leave Lesbos, and frustrated residents tried to stop the construction of new homes.
Mohammad Akbar, a 42-year-old Afghan three-year-old, said via WhatsApp that the refugees had no intention of burning down the camp where they lived.
But then came the corona virus, which came with an isolation. The camp’s isolated isolation has disconnected its residents from the ATM machine – the only banking facility they have ever served.
Moria was designed in 2015 to hold 3,000 people as waves of refugees fled the wars in Syria and northern Iraq. But the “brief” was permanent, with 12,000 people living there by Wednesday. The pre-Lespos population was only 86,000.
Hour long lines for money
Akbar described a scene in which an already crowded camp turned into hell after 35 residents tested positive for COVID, prompting the facility to lock up altogether. For many, “amenities” are just tents and plastic sheets.
Restrictions were placed on who could stand in line for hours to get a family’s food – and this further confused the already dangerous food situation in the camp. These restrictions include closing the ATM machine. Even when the engine was running, long lines formed in front of it, these photos from May show:
OrtMortaza (ortMortazaBehboudi) May 14, 2020
Since the camp is within walking distance to the nearest town, the only way for Moria residents to withdraw or withdraw money is through a bank machine. So simple tasks – such as getting food, soap or diapers – suddenly became more difficult, and sources told Insider that the camp relied on a flawed official manual system.
People began to panic because they did not have the money to buy the things they needed.
“The ATM machine was closed, so there was no money to buy food and the shops were not open,” Akbar said. “Sometimes the food they give you will not come. The families were hungry and the children needed milk,” he said.
The protests were common as thousands of people had been stranded in the island camp for years, with the aim of reopening the bank, easing the food supply and pressuring the authorities to increase the relocation of some families from the island.
The fire starts
Some young people began to ignite small protests.
“The fire came from the boys and not the adults. Some of them did not have parents or families to control them. They caused trouble with the police,” Akbar said.
Moria is set amidst the olive trees on a windy hillside – and the wind quickly carried the flames to areas filled with plastic tents. This spread to the propane gas canisters that most families use to cook food.
Greek authorities have promised to deport the perpetrators and open an investigation.
By Wednesday, Authorities have launched plans to relocate hundreds of helpless minors to facilities on the ground. So far, they have refused to allow the vast majority of homeless refugees off the island.
‘We want to leave the island, we want to leave the island’
More than 10,000 people were suddenly made homeless in the struggle for housing – in many cases sleeping on the fields and roadsides – Greece announced that the new facility would be built And refugees will be housed in boats and naval vessels.
Island residents have been complaining about the facility for months. They were told it would be temporary five years ago. This week they engaged in a series of sieges and clashes with riot police sent from Athens to prevent a series of “temporary” solutions.
“They want us to leave the island, we want them to leave the island,” Akbar said.