UNICEF statement on children affected by the Moria camp fire on Lesvos Island, Greece

11 September 2020

GENEVA, 11 September 2020 – The safe transfer of 406 unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children from Lesvos Island to the Greek mainland, following this week’s fire at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre, is a welcome and long-sought move. 

Far too many other children and families will face yet another night in the open. They urgently require shelter, protection, and access to basic services. 

The Moria fire has also made clear that they require durable solutions. All children need to be transferred off Lesvos onto the mainland, where they can be properly housed and supported. Early indications from European countries that they will relocate vulnerable unaccompanied minors are extremely important, and we appeal to more countries to take action.

Greece cannot continue to carry the effort alone. UNICEF will continue to support our Greek partners and the work by Member States to protect and promote the rights and well-being of refugee and migrant children. The upcoming EU Pact on Migration and Asylum will be a crucial opportunity to take forward a common and shared approach to protecting children in migration in Europe.

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Note to Editors: Prior to their transfer to the Greek mainland, the 406 unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children were sheltered at the TAPUAT Child and Family Support centre near the Moria camp.  The TAPUAT centre and another UNICEF-supported facility nearby are ready to provide emergency accommodation for up to 300 of the most vulnerable women-headed families.

Media contacts

Chulho Hyun
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Tel: +41 22 909 5286
Christopher Tidey
Tel: +1 917 340 3017


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