Moria: Germany and France welcome 400 refugee children from the Greek camp | News | DW


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to a deal that would allow 400 unaccompanied minors from the Greek migrant camp to move to other parts of the European Union, Merkel confirmed Thursday.Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU Council Presidency, said she had agreed to take unaccompanied minors at the request of the Greek government. She said she hoped other EU countries would agree to take some children.

“As a preliminary step, we offer Greece to accept minor refugees – further steps must follow,” Merkel said at a roundtable in Berlin on Thursday. The European Union must “finally assume a more shared responsibility” in matters of migration policy, added the German Chancellor.

A total of 13,000 people lived in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp, the largest in Europe. The camp was destroyed in a fire earlier this week that left thousands in need of emergency housing.

At a press conference on the Mediterranean island of Corsica on Wednesday, Macron said that “terrible images, terrible reality” meant that “we must show solidarity with Greece and live up to European values” .

Thousands of asylum seekers languished on the sides of Greek roads on Thursday homeless and starving, as government efforts to create new temporary shelters were delayed.

Many of them were families with young children, who spent a second night in the open air, without tents or even basic bedding. Some of the homeless migrants had to travel to the nearest villages to find water and other supplies.

Read more: Opinion: Moria migrant camp in Greece is the EU’s fiery failure

Red Cross: refugees must be evacuated

Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Thursday that it was a “humanitarian imperative” for the EU to evacuate migrants, following the ‘fire.

“There is an urgent need to move migrants from the Greek islands to the mainland,” Rocca said at a virtual press conference in Geneva.

“Thousands of people live in unacceptable conditions on the Greek islands,” said Rocca.

“This is a European crisis which requires concrete acts of solidarity on the part of the EU Member States. Just containing people is not the solution, ”he added.

Read more: Moria refugee camp tragedy reignites political controversy in Germany

Greece: the fires were fires

The island of Lesvos is the main port of entry for arrivals in Greece, a member state of the EU, because, due to its proximity to Turkey. The Moria camp had long since exceeded its official capacity on several occasions.

Greek authorities said the fires that destroyed much of the camp were deliberately started, with the first Tuesday evening being started by residents angered by the quarantine measures imposed to contain a COVID-19 outbreak after 35 people had tested positive.

Read more: Europe’s largest refugee camp braces for COVID-19 outbreak

The situation angered residents, who have long expressed their frustration with the camp. A local group blocked a side road to the camp to prevent machines from reaching the camp to remove debris.

Moria community leader Yiannis Mastroyannis defended the protesters, saying they were peaceful and residents of the village and outlying areas just wanted a return to normal, with no new tents at the fire-ravaged site .

“In recent days we have experienced unprecedented situations with daily fires,” said Mastroyannis.

“We have reached our limits. We are anxious, we do not feel safe, we have had enough, we no longer know how to act, ”he added.

jcg / sms (dpa, AP)


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