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A massive fight in a refugee camp on a Greek island leads to a fire and a partial evacuation

A massive fight in a refugee camp on a Greek island leads to fire and partial evacuation

MSF links the event with the “European policies” that leave refugees in the Greek islands in “unworthy conditions”

A massive fight between Afghan and Syrian migrants residing in a supersaturated refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos led to a multi-spotlight fire Monday night and partial evacuation of facilities after police officers loaded with tear gas, as reported by local media.

A massive fight in a refugee camp on a Greek island leads to a fire and a partial evacuation
A massive fight in a refugee camp on a Greek island leads to a fire and a partial evacuation

The situation in the camp worsened when the first outbreaks of fire were registered in makeshift shelters around the camp, which led to a partial evacuation, as told by the Greek radio station Skai.

As a result of the fight and the resulting incidents, at least three men have received medical attention for knife wounds and another eight have had respiratory problems, as explained on Tuesday by the Secretary of State for Migration of Greece, Manos Logothetis.

The camp, in which the requests of asylum seekers who aspire to enter the European Union are evaluated, was built to house 650 people but currently hosts about 5,700, according to data from the Greek Government.

The situation is similar in other Greek islands near the Turkish coast, where migrants continue to arrive hoping to reach the countries of the European Union with better economic and development status. Tensions remain high in refugee camps due to saturation and the poor conditions suffered by the displaced.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said in a statement that Monday's fire at Vathy camp has left some 600 refugees without accommodation and that several local organizations have relocated them to other shelters.

“Events like last night are a direct result of European policies that trap people in unworthy and unsafe conditions in the Greek islands,” said MSF coordinator at Samos, Eirini Papanastasiou.

The NGO has said that one of its teams is supporting a local hospital with interpreters and will provide emergency psychological help and essential items to those affected by Monday night's fire.

Papanastasiou recalled that Monday is the second fire in a refugee camp in the Greek islands after the one registered in the camp of Moria, on the island of Lesbos two weeks ago. “The Greek and European authorities must urgently transfer all vulnerable people to safe and appropriate accommodation elsewhere,” he concluded.

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