Thursday, June 20 2024

Only unaccompanied children will leave Lesvos, says gov’t spokesman

Only unaccompanied children refugees will be evacuated from the island of Lesvos after the fire that destroyed the largest part of the Moria reception and registration centre on Tuesday night, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Thursday.

“Some [people] do not respect the country that is hosting them,” he said at a regular press briefing, adding that a second fire on Wednesday night had destroyed much of the facility, leaving thousands of refugees and migrants homeless.

“They thought that if they set fire to Moria they would leave the island indiscriminately. Whatever those who set the fires had in mind, they can forget it,” he continued.


“They are not going to leave because of the fire, except the unaccompanied minors who have already been transferred.” 

The government is now focusing on housing, feeding and protecting the thousands of refugees and migrants left homeless by the fire, he said.

The events in Moria “raise serious issues of national security, humanity and protection of public health,” he said.

Asked about the government’s responsibility for the tragedy in Moria, Petsas admitted that authorities did not show enough resolve in pushing through with the building of the closed camps in February.

He then called on local authorities to assume its share of responsibility in housing the migrants.

On Thursday, authorities completed the transfer of 406 unaccompanied refugee children from Moria to Thessaloniki on three flights.