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Two dead in Greek migrant camp blaze: Report

Published: Updated:

At least two migrants died on Sunday in a fire at a Greek island refugee camp, a report said, with the blaze triggering rioting by angry residents.

After the fire was extinguished, police fired tear gas to control a crowd angered by the time it had taken for the fire brigade to arrive at the Moira camp on the island of Lesbos, according to an AFP correspondent.

Additional officers were sent from Athens in C-130 army airplanes in a bid to contain the situation.

Athens News Agency, quoting police sources, reported that a woman and a child had died in the fire.

An Afghan migrant eyewitness, however, told AFP a woman and two children had died, describing how the blaze spread to six or seven containers used to house residents.

“We found two children completely charred and a woman dead. We gave the children covered in blankets to the fire brigade,” Fedouz, 15, said.

The Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Lefteris Economou, along with the Chief of Police and the Secretary General for Migration Policy, were heading to Lesbos.

Migrants said they were angry over the time it took for the fire brigade to arrive, claiming that a long delay had led to the fatalities.

In a statement, police said the riots occurred after two separate fires broke out, firstly outside and then inside Moria camp with a time gap of twenty minutes.

The camp hosts around 13,000 people but has facilities for just 3,000.

Greece has been dealing with a resurgence in refugee and migrant flows in recent weeks from neighboring Turkey.

Nearly a million refugees fleeing war in Syria and migrants crossed from Turkey to Greece’s islands in 2015.

More than 9,000 people arrived in August, the highest number in the three years since the European Union and Ankara implemented a deal to shut off the Aegean migrant route. More than 8,000 people have arrived so far in September, according to Reuters.

Turks have also attempted to cross to Greece in recent years following a failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

On Friday seven Turkish nationals, two women and five children, drowned when a boat carrying them capsized near Greece’s Chios island.