Blaze at Samos migrant facility 24 hrs before closure

Camp Vathy evacuated successfully, no casualties

20 September, 12:42

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, 20 SET - Another fire has swept through a migrant camp in Greece, and thankfully there were no casualties, injuries, or major damages in the aftermath of the blaze which broke out at a camp which was scheduled to be closed down on Monday on the Greek island of Samos.

    The camp in the Vathy area of the island, which hosted around 500 refugees and migrants, was evacuated successfully after a blaze started late on Sunday evening, ahead of the facility's programmed shutdown on Monday morning.

    Greek authorities said the fire had been started in some abandoned buildings within the camp and had been brought under control quickly by the local fire service.

    According to local media reports, residents who were preparing to leave in any case were evacuated to a nearby empty plot near the camp's entrance.

    On Monday morning a large-scale operation to transfer all of the migrants to the new €43 million ($50 million) facility in the Zervou area of the island was underway and is expected to be completed by Wednesday. The new facility has the capacity to host 3,000 people.

    The camp affected by the fire once housed up to 7,500 migrants in squalid living conditions, and is the first of several new so-called "closed controlled access" reception and identification centers which are being built on several islands, including also Leros, Kos, Chios and Lesvos, with the help of EU funds.

    The construction and opening of the new facility has not gone without controversy. Members from the Trade Union of Samos staged a protest at the official inauguration on Saturday unfurling banners with slogans such as "No Guantanamo on Samos, No to Prisons on Samos".

    Meanwhile, after Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis inaugurated a new site, he stated that in a few months similar facilities will be opened on Kos and Leros, while those on Chios and Lesvos will be completed in 2022. (ANSAmed).

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