Migration Minister Mouzalas expresses ‘deep sorrow’ over tragic accident in Moria hotspot

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Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas on Friday expressed his deep sorrow at Thursday night’s tragic accident in the Moria refugee and migrant camp on Lesvos, noting that it was an “unfortunate incident that started after as a result of a gas canister inside a tent where a refugee family was living.”

Mouzalas said that all unaccompanied minors were transferred to reception facilities outside the camp and a C-130 plane was sent to Lesvos to transport a seriously injured woman and her child to Athens, where they were rushed to KAT hospital.

“This unfortunate incident takes place at a specially difficult time for the islands, since a large number of refugees and migrants have been trapped there. We ask the citizens of the islands, who have shown self-restraint and calmness, to keep doing so and to contribute to the effort we are making to speed up the process of examining asylum applications and the relocation process,” he said. He also urged Greece’s European partners to re-examine Greek proposals for allowing the transfer of asylum seekers to closed camps on the mainland without contravening the terms of the EU-Turkey agreement.

The minister expressed his best wishes for a speedy recovery of those injured in the ensuing fire at the camp and his hope that, “with the assistance of the statutory agencies, we will improve conditions on our islands both for local citizens and for the refugees and migrants.”

A Iraqi Kurdish woman in her 60s and her five-year-old granddaughter were killed on Thursday night when a cooking gas canister exploded inside their tent. The girl’s mother and younger brother also suffered extensive burns and had to be rushed to an Athens hospital, while another 10 camp residents were taken to Mytilene hospital suffering from lesser burns and respiratory problems. Over 4,500 people, refugees and migrants of all ages are staying in plastic tents in the Moria hotspot.