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Refugees and migrants flee a fire burning at the Moria camp on Lesbos island, Greece Refugees and migrants flee a fire burning at the Moria camp on Lesbos island, Greece, Sept. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

Greece’s Moria Refugee Camp Was Inhumane. Things Just Got Worse

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020

Until a couple weeks ago, Moria was the largest refugee camp in Europe. Situated on the Greek island of Lesbos, it housed roughly 13,000 people in facilities that were designed to hold 3,000. But starting on the evening of Sept. 8, a series of fires swept through Moria, reducing it to a smoldering ruin by the end of the week. Greek authorities have charged four young Afghan migrants with arson in connection with the fires.

With nowhere else to go, thousands of Moria’s residents were left homeless, without access to basic services. Their plight casts a harsh and damning light on the European Union, which despite repeated attempts has failed to find a humane way to handle the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers at its southern borders. Germany has announced it will take in around 1,500 refugees from Greece, but so far there is little indication that other European countries will follow suit. This week on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman discusses the refugee crisis with Matthew Cassel, a Vice News correspondent who reported on the aftermath of the Moria fire.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
For Migrants and Refugees, Greece Has Become Hostile Territory
Has the World Learned the Lessons of the 2015 Refugee Crisis?
Refugees Are Being Ignored Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
As the Migration Crisis Evolves, the Wealthiest Countries Still Aren’t Doing Enough

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Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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