Migrants are being treated after a fire broke out at Vathy camp on the Greek island of Samos on November 2, 2020 | Photo: Michael Svarnias/AP/dpa
Migrants are being treated after a fire broke out at Vathy camp on the Greek island of Samos on November 2, 2020 | Photo: Michael Svarnias/AP/dpa

Two aid organizations have criticized the situation for migrants who live in island camps in the Aegean Sea. While Germany's Kindernothilfe condemns the evacuation of PIKPA camp on Lesbos for allegedly being inhumane, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demands safety for migrants on Samos after the fire at the Vathy camp.

German charity Kindernothilfe ("supporting children in need") and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have slammed the conditions in two migrant camps on the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea. 

Kindernothilfe, a 61-year-old Christian organization, called the evacuation of the PIKPA refugee camp on Lesbos brutal and inhuman. "Those who use militarily organized special forces against women and children show they don't stand on the side of democracy and human rights," Kindernothilfe chair Carsten Montag said on Monday (November 2).

According to local charity Lesvos Solidarity, a partner organization of Kindernothilfe, the camp was evacuated last Friday (October 30). Without prior notice, special forces of the Greek police allegedly fetched shocked and startled people, among them 32 children, from their small houses and living quarters. They then forced them in buses that were standing by, Kindernothilfe said.

PIKPA is a small community-run facility created to provide a safe haven for particularly vulnerable migrants and refugees. The nearly 80 people living at PIKPA will be transferred to the Kara Tepe tent camp, which was built after fires had devastated the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos in early September.

PIKPA was considered a humane alternative to the severely overcrowded, unsanitary and state-run camps like Moria. Pro Asyl and Amnesty International also protested against the clearing.

MSF demands evacuation

While Kindernothilfe condemned the evacuation of the PIKPA migrant camp on Lesbos, international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), called for the evacuation of a different camp on the island of Samos, some 150 kilometers away.

After an earthquake struck the eastern Mediterranean on Friday (October 30) and a fire broke out on Tuesday (November 2) at the Vathy camp on Samos, MSF stressed the importance of evacuating the camp's migrant population. "Vathy camp is not a safe place -- people must be evacuated to safe accommodation now," MSF said on Twitter.

According to MSF, the fire broke out at 4 am Tuesday morning and resulted in no injuries, which UNHCR confirmed. The UN agency, however, reported "damages to the tented area." The Vathy camp is currently home to 4,500 people.

The epicenter of Friday's earthquake, which had a magnitude of seven on the Richter scale and left some 30 people dead, was just a few kilometers north of Samos near the Turkish coast. Two teenagers died and many houses were destroyed on the island.

According to an MSF employee, none of the migrants in Vathy were injured. MSF said it provided blankets and beds for affected islanders.

With epd


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