Late Thursday evening, on 24 November 2016, a deadly explosion occurred in Moria detention center on Lesvos, Greece. This tragedy is the latest in a series of fires and other unfortunate incidents in Moria, creating dangerous conditions for the residents of the refugee camp as well as those who work and provide aid in Moria.
The explosion and fire resulted in fatalities, severe injuries, destroyed documents necessary in the asylum process, and hundreds of camp residents traumatized.
This tragedy occurred when an elderly grandmother turned on an expired gas canister, resulting in an explosion claiming her life and the life of her grandchild, and causing serious injuries in a number of nearby residents.
This tragedy was foreseeable and preventable.
This tragedy will happen again unless immediate action is taken.
The temperature is dropping, the use of gas canisters and heaters is rising, and unfortunately camp officials have not provided any oversight or education of safe gas use for Moria residents.
Due to the lack of any organized response to this urgent safety issue, and in an effort to prevent additional fatalities, Advocates Abroad teamed up with Humans4Humanity three days after the explosion to inspect the gas canisters and bottles of every resident in Moria.
In addition, we provided numerous information sessions in English, Arabic, and Farsi to the residents of the camp. We have released three videos on safe use of gas and how to distinguish good and bad canisters and bottles. These videos are available on the Advocates Abroad public Facebook page and website, and have been widely viewed and shared.
This joint effort is ongoing, and both our organizations are committed to ensuring residents are safely using and disposing gas canisters throughout their time in Moria. This effort is necessary because of the ongoing lack of proper facilities on Lesvos, and indeed, in every Greek refugee camp.
Advocates Abroad urgently calls upon the Greek officials, UNHCR, and the European Union to provide a safe, sustainable, and dignified solution to this crisis and preventative measures to ensure there are no further fatalities in Greek refugee sites.
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