MORIA : Greece was set on Sunday last to evacuate hundreds of migrants from a notoriously overpopulated island camp to the mainland.

Two groups, of 142 and 250 ''vulnerable'' migrants were to board lorries on the island of Lesbos, according to a police source after leaving the  Moria camp where conditions were set to be deplorable.

In April, Human Rights Watch urged  Greek authorities to act quickly and ward off a potential health crisis in migrant camps lest the coronavirus take hold there. 

The sites were battling rampant over crowding, poor sanitation, lack of proper water supplies and rudimentary healthcare.

A transfer from the Moria camp would be the first since confinement measures were imposed on March 23 to stem the spread of Covid-19.

A few days before that around 600 migrants had been transferred to the Greek mainland.

A estimated 37,000 migrants live in dreadful conditions on Five Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. The camps were built to house 6,200 people only.

Moria holds around 189,300 migrants, more than six times the capacity.

Plans to alleviate overcrowding were stalled by the discovery of Covid-19 cases among migrants on the mainland.

BUT Greek officials now plan to move around 2,000 people from the islands, and migration minister Notis Mitarachi said recently that 10,000  had reached the mainland in the first three months of the year.

On Sunday, Mitarachi paid a visit to a medical center at the Moria camp that is to test asylum seekers for signs of the coronavirus.

Around 150 migrants on the mainland have tested positive for the virus, but up till now, no cases have been  reported in the overcrowded island camps. [AFP]


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