After fire destroyed Greek camp, refugees seek European support

In the middle of the burned remains that were once the Moria refugee camp lies a notebook left behind by one of the thousands of people who rushed to save their lives when fires tore through the sprawling refugee camp on Lesbos.

On one page, a few basic sentences. The book had belonged to an Afghan refugee trying to learn English, as they attempted to start a new life away from war.

“What is your favourite sport”, “My favourite sport is football”, “What do you do in your free time”, “I usually study book”, “What is your nationality”, “I am Afghan”.

He or she is likely one of the thousands of people who are now left searching for answers on the streets of Lesbos.

Since the fire almost a week ago, which left about 13,000 people without shelter, thousands have been sleeping on roadsides and petrol station forecourts.

A temporary camp nearby has been constructed to house some of the former Moria residents, but there is concern over plans for a permanent reception centre for refugees and migrants on Lesbos.

Locals reject the plan, aid workers have humanitarian concerns, and refugees fear the centre will resemble a prison, leaving them unable to start new lives in other EU countries.

Amid protests, with police firing tear gas at demonstrators, and journalists widely denied access to the site where thousands are currently sleeping over the past two days, the situation is tense.

According to the police, a “military operation” was ongoing and there were orders from the chief of police to keep journalists away from the area.

According to the Greek Ministry of Migration, there are now approximately 300 people in the new temporary camp, which has capacity for some 3,000 people.

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