Thousands of migrants stay away from Lesvos temporary camp

Many migrants in Lesvos refuse to take up residence in a temporary reception camp. As a result, thousands of beds remain unoccupied.

On the Greek island, a fire broke out this month in the overcrowded Moria camp. The authorities then had to arrange alternative accommodation for more than 12,000 migrants. A government official says that 5 000 beds have been arranged in a temporary reception camp in the Kara Tepe area, but so far only around 1 000 asylum seekers have reportedly arrived there.

At the camp there was a queue of people receiving water, food and blankets before they went in. The migrants are also being tested for the coronavirus. At least 25 people have tested positive and that makes it even more difficult to arrange accommodation.

One police source said that thousands of other migrants on the island are reluctant to go to the tent camp. They are said to have bad memories of the living conditions in Camp Moria and want to go to mainland Greece. “We informed them that they should come to the camp, but they refused,” said the source.

The authorities took several hundred migrants from the island after the fire. These are mainly unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. The government insists that the migrants left behind must go to the new reception centre. “Nobody leaves Lesvos without first entering the temporary camp”, stressed a minister on the radio.