Switzerland prepared to take in minors affected by Moria fires

Switzerland could accept around 20 minors as part of a resettlement effort. Keystone / Orestis Panagiotou

The government has agreed in principle to accept around 20 unaccompanied minors from the Moria asylum camp in Greece that has been devastated by fires. 

This content was published on September 11, 2020 - 17:36

On Friday, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) announced that it would join nine European Union (EU) countries in providing a safe refuge for around 400 unaccompanied minors affected by the fires in the asylum centre on the Greek island of Lesbos. 

On Tuesday night, deliberately set fires gutted the Moria asylum centre leaving its 12,500 residents mostly homeless. The EU, under the German Presidency, is coordinating the urgent transfer of 400 minors at the camp to other countries given their precarious situation.

“The SEM, in response to an informal request from Germany, is considering Swiss participation in these efforts and the responsibility for some 20 minors,” said the SEM in a statement on Friday.

However, the current priority for the Swiss is providing humanitarian assistance on the ground. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is sending almost one tonne of aid material. An aircraft of the Swiss Air Transport Service will leave for Athens on Friday carrying equipment requested by the Greek authorities such as sleeping bags, mattresses, water tanks, cooking utensils and other relief supplies. Two specialists from the humanitarian aid corps are also making the trip. The FDFA has also budgeted up to CHF1 million in humanitarian aid to meet urgent needs on site. 

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