Greek Island Hits "Breaking Point" After Migrant Center Fire

The Greek island of Samos has been "destabilized" following a fire at an asylum center which was already overflowing with migrants, a local mayor has warned.

Hundreds of migrants are now sleeping in parks and public squares following a blaze at the Vathy migrant processing and reception center.

The island has reached a "breaking point," according to Greek outlet Ekathimerini.

"The island has become destabilized," East Samos Mayor Giorgos Stantzos told Greek media. "We are counting down for something bad to happen.”

"Samos’ residents are exhausted. They need measures immediately."

Stantzos has called upon Athens to intervene and bring more migrants to the mainland in order to relieve pressure on local facilities and resources.

The Vathy camp has been struggling to accommodate some 6,000 migrants, despite only being designed for up to 700, and migrants continue to pour onto Greek islands from nearby Turkey.

Violence and fires broke out at the Vathy center on Monday when Syrian and Afghan migrants reportedly began fighting each other, prompting an intervention by Greek riot police.

"A total of twelve migrants of various nationalities and ranging from the ages of 15 to 34 years old have been arrested in connection with the violent incidents that erupted on Samos island on Monday and resulted in the fires and destruction of a large part of the camp facility," the Greek City Times reported.

“Seven people are accused of participating in the incidents within the hotspot while two of them also face charges of attempted homicide for their use of sharp implements during the violence. Four people were charged with taking part in clashes inside the hotspot and one person was charged with arson.”

The Vathy blaze came just weeks after another fire at the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, which some have speculated was intentionally set by arsonists, citing video footage shot at the scene.


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(PHOTO: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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