On 30 September 2020, Dutch Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Samira Rafaela of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Recently thousands of refugees and migrants were forced to flee again. This time it was a devastating fire that made them flee the overcrowded Moria camp on Lesbos. The camp, which had an initial capacity of 3 000 places, has been totally destroyed, leaving 13 000 people with nowhere to sleep. There is no time to waste. The situation in the camp was already unsustainable – the lack of hygiene, overcrowding and terrible conditions are leading to increased human suffering.
1. Is the Commission willing and ready to provide emergency support and humanitarian aid in response to the disaster that has left 13 000 people in a crisis situation on Lesbos?
2. How will the Commission make sure that the fundamental needs of vulnerable refugees on EU soil are met in line with the universal and indivisible rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and other international conventions?”
On 25 January 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “after the fires destroyed the Moria Reception and Identification Centre on Lesvos, the Commission funded the immediate transfer of 406 unaccompanied minors to the mainland and since then more than 2 700 refugees and vulnerable migrants have been transferred from Lesvos to the mainland. At the request of Greece in the immediate aftermath of the fire, 11 Member States and the United Kingdom sent in-kind assistance through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism.
Reception conditions in the temporary camp of Mavrovouni have improved since September 2020. All accommodation tents are prepared for winter and the Commission has provided funding for the provision of water and sanitation. The camp’s residents have access to adequate healthcare and administrative services. Safety and security have also been increased.
Responding to the Commission’s call for more solidarity, 16 Member States and Schengen Associated States have pledged to relocate around 5 100 persons from Greece. As of 4 December 2020, 1 746 transfers have taken place and further relocations will continue with the Commission’s coordination and EU funding.
In September 2020, the Commission established a dedicated Taskforce which, together with the Greek authorities, is working as a priority to improve the situation on Lesvos in a sustainable way by enhancing the migration management and asylum processes and by setting up new reception facilities on the island. The aim is to have a new reception centre ready in the course of 2021.
The Commission monitors the implementation of EC law in the Member States and supports them in managing migration in full respect of human rights and international obligations.”
Photo : https://pixabay.com/photos/fence-men-refugee-integration-3585348/