Several fires last night almost completely destroyed the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. According to the government, the fires are largely under control and thousands of children and their families are now homeless.

The refugee camp Moria on Lesvos during a fire in 2016 (archive picture).

The fire in Moria Camp is absolutely devastating. Thousands of children have been left on the streets, without shelter, and at high risk of violence and exploitation. Unaccompanied children left the burning camp on their own and are now desperately searching for a safe place to go. They are scared, hungry, and cold. Many families have lost the few possessions they owned, and now have no food, no water, and no protection.

Karen Mets Save the Children’s Senior Advisor for Children on the Move

The majority of those living in Moria come from conflict-zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and have experienced unimaginable suffering. They came to Europe in search of safety, but instead they ended up living in destitution. Save the Children has documented the self-harm and substance abuse that many children turn to as they lose all hope

This fire is the result of an inhumane policy that has left tens of thousands enduring dire conditions in overcrowded camps for five years - often with no access to running water or other essential services.

Karen Mets Save the Children’s Senior Advisor for Children on the Move

According to the Greek Ministry of Migration, there are currently about 12,600 refugees living in Moria. However, the camp has a capacity for only 2,800 people. Save the Children has repeatedly warned of the inhumane conditions, which are particularly catastrophic for children. They suffer from homelessness, exploitation and violence. Only yesterday, 35 Corona cases were confirmed in Moria. The camp was under quarantine.

We call for children, families and other vulnerable people to be immediately given the protection they need in this precarious situation.