Germany agreed to take in some 1,553 refugees drooping on Lesbos Island in Greece, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said, after a devastating fire forced Maria migrants to settle at a new location provided by Greece government.
More than 12,000 people, mostly asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Africa and Syria, were left without shelter, proper sanitation or access to food after a fire destroyed the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos last week, Reuters reported.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was the first government minister to formally announce the decision, in a tweet.
“Germany will also accept up to 150 unaccompanied minors as asylum seekers and is in the process of taking in 243 children who need treatment and their close family, who will total about 1,000 people,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
[Earlier: UNHCR Calls for Immediate Solution to Refugee Problems in Lesbos Camp]
LESBOS, Greece – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said problems of Lesbos migrants should be addressed quickly, as their struggle is not living facilities at the camp but they want to enter other European countries.
Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR representative in Greece, said on Wednesday, “to the best of our abilities, we will encourage quick steps, because solution is out of the Lesbos camp, which takes little bit of time; and I call for all refugees, local communities and authorities to be patient, yet active.”
He encouraged all refugees – who are recently shifted from Moria camp – to be patient and cooperate with authorities to process their concerns, saying by violence we cannot justify our struggle although it is understandable.
The remarks came a week after Greek authorities, who hold overall responsibility for the management and coordination of the humanitarian response, identified a new location in Lesvos, close to Mytilene town, to temporarily house the most vulnerable children, men and women were made homeless in a series of blazes in Moria camp.
“So far, UNHCR has provided 600 family tents, which are already accommodating some 700 as of yesterday evening,” said UNHCR in a statement. “We have also provided chemical toilets and handwashing stations and are ready to provide additional water, hygiene and sanitation support that may be required.”
Meanwhile, the UN body is “supporting the national health authorities in establishing a medical area in the new site, in accordance with WHO guidance, providing three tents, installing a Rubb hall and fencing to serve as isolation areas.”