Helicopters and small planes buzz over the devastation, trying to fight the remaining fires. The camp is still a powder keg of dry wood, tents and living containers. A young man asks the police if he can access part of the camp to collect his belongings, but a small fire has just broken out and develops. The police shake their heads and tell him to come back tomorrow to check if there is anything left.In other parts of the camp, young men emerge through the smoke, dragging belongings they can retrieve.
Somaya, 27, a political science graduate from Afghanistan, sits quietly with a bundle of her remaining belongings. Until Tuesday, she lived in a part of the camp assigned to single women. “It all happened very quickly,” she says. “The police helped us to leave and a few minutes [later] our whole section burned in the fire. ”
Since Tuesday evening, she has been sleeping in the streets with thousands of other people. “We had a really bad night last night,” she said, “we have nothing.”
Ali, 19, living alone in Moria, says people are struggling to cope. On Wednesday evening, people huddled at supermarket doors and outside the police station as the cold set in. “We have no other place to go,” he said.
Although food was delivered to some of those who fled the camp, Ali has not eaten for almost two days. “Everything is very bad and [getting] worse, ”he says. “We don’t know what’s going to happen to us.”
Across the island, the fire sparked anger, outrage and despair, and divided the community over what should follow. Some local people express their solidarity with the refugees but many hope that the camp will not be rebuilt. On Thursday, two trucks blocked the road to prevent construction vehicles from reaching the burnt ruins of the camp.
The mayor of Mytilene, the capital of Lesvos, Stratis Kytelis, is among the opponents of a new camp and has told local media he will not agree to any reopening of the facilities in Moria.
Three miles away, other refugees from the smaller Kara Tepe camp have shared their food and comforted those who fled the flames in Moria, but little can be done to provide shelter. There appears to be no official plan to help relocate those who have lost their homes and shelter, and no signs that the ferries are on their way to provide a place to sleep.
For now, the thousands of people who have fled Moria have nowhere to go. The family of Mohammed, 35, who worked as a government employee in Afghanistan, are among those facing another night on the streets. “Please,” he said simply, “this situation is unbearable.”