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Society

Doctors Without Borders Rips Transfers Between Lesbos Refugee Camps

LESBOS, Greece — The humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has denounced a decision to move 74 vulnerable migrants and refugees from the PIPKA camp on the island of Lesbos to the Kara Tepe tent city that was hastily built after a fire destroyed the notorious Mora camp.

“The minister of migration has taken a completely absurd decision of taking people living in PIKPA camp away from their home,” Stephan Oberreit, the head of MSF’s mission to Greece, tweeted in a video from the island, said Kathimerini.

“This is absurd because the focus, the priority, should be the many vulnerable people living in the main camp of Lesbos and living in a completely inadequate situation,” he added.

But the transfers were being made, the Migration Ministry said, because a staff member at the PIKPA camp tested positive for COVID-19, with the government trying to prevent its spread in refugee and migrant camps.

Some 8,000 of the 12,500 people burned out of Moria are in the Kara Tepe camp, others being transferred to other sites including the mainland but many of those in the tent city said it's just as bad as Moria and face spending the winter there.

“The priority of the government, of the authority, should be to focus to put these people in safety, either on the mainland or in other EU countries,” Oberreit added, calling on the New Democracy government to “stop the chaotic management of the situation.”

There are about 34,000 people in camps and centers on five islands near the coast of Turkey – where they had gone fleeing war, strife and economic misery in their homelands, primarily Syria and Afghanistan.

Turkey has allowed human traffickers to keep sending them, most to Lesbos, during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union which closed its borders to them, dumping the problem largely on Greece, which is holding nearly another 66,000 on the mainland.

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