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Koumoutsakos on Moria fire: 'Unaccompanied refugee minors, vulnerable groups, our top priority'

The center "has been completely destroyed,"

The protection of vulnerable groups that were hosted in Moria is a top priority after the devastating fire, Migration & Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said at a briefing to the press on Wednesday, and that the 408 unaccompanied children are safe in hotels and other places.

The ministry will proceed with putting Moria residents in "new temporary accommodation, preferably not near the camp area and not necessarily all together in one spot," he pointed out.

Koumoutsakos clarified that the installation plan concerns the approximately 3,000 residents who were inside the center, and spoke of a "major humanitarian crisis" and that "everything is being done humanely to deal with a very difficult situation."

He stressed, however, that "based on all the information from the field, no loss of life has been recorded".

Regarding the fires, he described that "they started in areas around the center and then new outbreaks were identified inside the center," as well as that "everything shows that it started as a result of dissatisfaction of some Moria guests due to the imposed anti-coronavirus lockdown."

The government mechanism "was activated immediately, in extremely adverse conditions." As to whether the fires "were an organized action from inside the center, the police are investigating all possibilities," he added.

The center "has been completely destroyed," he noted and described that "basically the service buildings inside the center have been destroyed, including the Asylum Service, where, Koumoutsakos explained that "at the moment everything shows that the records of the Service have suffered the consequences of the fire," and that "this is an additional challenge, but we will face it."

Regarding the unaccompanied minors, it was clarified that their transfer to the mainland "will start today and may end today," as the children will be accommodated "in temporary inland accommodation structures," while "any children who are prioritized for relocation will go to the structures we have for this purpose and the rest will enter long-term inland accommodation structures."

Finally, Koumoutsakos referred to the support by the European Commission, his counterparts from the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, as well as the German Foreign Minister and the German Ambassador to Athens, who have already made statements of support.

A detailed briefing will be held by government staff at Lesvos, consisting of the Ministers of Migration, Interior and the president of the National Public Health Organization (EODY)

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