Latest fatalities in infamous Moria 'hotspot'; govt now presses for more measure to deal with migrant/refugee crisis

Monday, 30 September 2019 12:12
UPD:12:15
Eurokinissi/EUROKINISSI

Πυρκαγιά στο Κέντρο Υποδοχής στη Μόρια της Λέβου το απόγευμα της Κυριακής 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019. (EUROKINISSI/FACEBOOK/IHAB ABASSI)

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The latest deadly incident at the Moria "hotspot" on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos (Mytilene) on Sunday afternoon, resulting in the fire-related deaths of a woman and a child, has reportedly accelerated efforts by the new center-right government to take measures in two directions: evacuating as many third countries nationals from the islands as possible, and, trying to stop migrant-smuggling rings from continuing to offload people onto Greek territory.

Two fires on Sunday afternoon, one outside the camp, and another at a makeshift identification center, caused a mini riot at the camp, where up to 13,000 people are crammed inside amid dreadful conditions. The second fire erupted in an area of the "hotspot" where mostly undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are housed, according to reports.  

Firefighters were initially prevented from reaching the second blaze by rioting migrants, with two vehicles destroyed in the process.

Back in Athens on Monday, a scheduled Cabinet meeting to be convened later in the day to discuss the prime minister's and other ministers' contacts in New York City last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, will shift the focus to the resurgent migrant/refugee crisis in the eastern Aegean.

A government spokesman is also expected to announce more measures.

Besides transporting "at risk" groups - families, certified minors, the ill, elderly people etc - from the affected islands to the Greek mainland, the Mitsotakis government has promised to significantly increased air and sea patrols separating the islands from the Turkish mainland - where the smuggling rings operate and where third country nationals ranging from sub-Saharan Africa to Myanmar assembly in a bid to reach Greek territory, a hoped for "gateway" to the EU.

Another priority for the Greek government is to increase the repatriation of those denied asylum and deemed as irregular migrants trying to reach preferred west European destinations.

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