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Fire Brings New Challenges for Moria Refugee Camp

November 16, 2020

Fire Brings New Challenges for Moria Refugee Camp

November 16, 2020
On September 8th, 2020 fire destroyed the Moria Refugee Camp.

On September 8th, 2020, fires destroyed the Moria Refugee Camp.

On the night of September 8th, fires broke out in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Stoked by strong winds and dry weather conditions, the fires quickly spread through the camp. 13,000 refugees had to flee as the tents that had become their homes went up in flames. Some were able to grab what few belongings they had. Others watched as everything they owned, including important documents related to their asylum cases, went up in smoke. They were forced to seek shelter wherever they could. They slept on the ground under olive trees, on the rocky edge of the road or the hard pavement of parking lots. They had no access to toilets or running water. In the aftermath of the fires, local volunteers worked hard to continue providing services even in the midst of the chaos and confusion. 

Two of Reach Beyond’s ministry partners, EuroRelief and Remar, lost their buildings in the fire. EuroRelief manages the assignment of accommodations and provides clothes, toiletries, blankets and tents. Remar distributes food and water to the women and children in the camp. Both had to adapt quickly, going out to the streets and passing out supplies in new locations, hoping that the refugees would find the new distribution points by word of mouth. EuroRelief worked to meet the needs of pregnant women and mothers of young babies, handing out nutrition packages, diapers and baby wipes. Refugees would point the EuroRelief workers to where mothers and babies had sought temporary protection. Remar continued to work with Greek authorities to bring in packets of food and pallets of water. 

There is a new temporary tent camp to provide shelter. While this is an improvement, the camp is still not fully equipped with bathroom or wash facilities. Our third partner, All4Aid, has a women’s center that provides a safe space for women and their children with shower and laundry facilities. Thankfully, it was not destroyed in the fire. Women, along with their children, have been walking an hour from the new camp to All4Aid’s center just to get a shower while others have pushed strollers full of clothes to be washed. In response, All4Aid now has a van to shuttle refugees back and forth. They offer 135 showers and 50 loads of laundry per day. All4Aid has also recently leased a space closer to the new camp with the hope of providing laundry and shower services for women and their children within walking distance. 

The new Moria Refugee Camp located along the coast of the Greek Island of Lesvos.

The new Moria Refugee Camp is located along the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos.

Remar now has a designated food and water distribution point in the new camp and has built a large tent to provide protection from the weather. EuroRelief has helped to register and place families, single men, and single women in their new accommodations. These organizations are seeking to bring some sense of normalcy back to daily life after the disruptions caused by the pandemic, unrest and fires. There are now plastic bottle recycling awareness programs, English classes for kids and adults, and sport activities for men and women to play and have fun.

Reach Beyond has been in regular contact with our partners on Lesbos Island, providing emotional, spiritual, and financial support. Our first full-time workers arrive in Greece in November. Pray for Ray and Kitty as they transition to living in a new country and culture and begin exploring specific ways to support the refugee ministry. We are praying for the opportunity to send more teams in 2021 to share the love of Christ with refugees. Pray for each refugee living in the camps to meet Jesus, who is the true eternal Refuge and Provider.