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Greece: Fire in Migrant Camp on Samos Island 'Under Control'

FILE - A fire burns at the migrant camp on the island of Samos, Greece, April 26, 2020.

A fire broke out Sunday evening in the reception and identification center for asylum-seekers on the Greek island of Samos but is now "under control," according to police and firefighter sources.

"The fire is under control but two or three containers were destroyed without causing any injuries," a police source said. Refugees stay in containers.

According to the fire department press office, "three containers were removed as a precaution when the fire broke out."

"The firefighters are there, there is no risk of the fire spreading," an official with the firefighters' press service told AFP.

This disaster, which broke out around 8:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. GMT), comes 10 days after two large fires ravaged the large camp of Moria on the island of Lesbos, known for its overpopulation and sordid living conditions.

On the streets for several days, most of the asylum-seekers expelled from Moria, about 10,000 people according to the authorities, were installed in a camp hastily set up by the government near the port of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos.

The Samos reception and identification center is one of five centers set up during the 2015 migration crisis on five Greek islands in the Aegean Sea (Lesbos, Samos, Kos , Leros, Chios) to stem the number of migrants arriving in Greece from neighboring Turkey.

The living conditions in the Samos camp — which is smaller than that of Moria, with nearly 6,000 people despite its initial capacity for 650 asylum-seekers — are also very difficult, including inadequate hygienic conditions.

The camps for asylum-seekers in Greece have been isolated since mid-March because of COVID-19, while the rest of the country returned to normal in early May.

According to authorities, 21 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the Samos camp so far.