Fire burns tents, structures in Greek refugee camp

International

A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire inside a refugee camp on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. Dozens of accommodations were destroyed by the fire that broke out on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Michael Svarnias)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A fire broke out in a refugee camp on the eastern Greek island of Samos on Wednesday, burning tents and some structures but causing no injuries.

The fire department said the blaze, which broke out in the morning, was limited in size and was tackled by 18 firefighters using nine vehicles. There was no immediate information on how many tents were destroyed. The fire department said the blaze was brought under control by midday.

Many of the tents are packed closely together in the overcrowded camp, and camping gas cannisters the residents use for cooking caused small explosions.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire. More than 3,800 people live in and around the Samos camp, a facility originally built to house just under 650.

In September, a series of fires destroyed Greece’s largest refugee camp, Moria, on the nearby island of Lesbos, leaving more than 10,000 people in need of emergency shelter. Greek authorities had said those blazes had been deliberately set by a small group of the camp’s residents protesting isolation and lockdown orders imposed after a coronavirus outbreak in the camp.

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union of people fleeing poverty and conflict in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The vast majority head to eastern Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast.

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