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story.lead_photo.caption Migrants sleep Thursday on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos after fires gutted the structures where they had been sheltered. More photos at arkansasonline.com/911lesbos/ (AP/Petros Giannakouris)

MORIA, Greece -- Thousands of migrants left homeless after fires gutted a sprawling refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos will not be allowed to go to mainland Greece, the government said Thursday.

Authorities said the fires were started deliberately Tuesday and Wednesday nights by people protesting their confinement at the overcrowded Moria camp. The camp, which housed 12,500 people, was locked down because of a coronavirus outbreak this month.

"Some people do not respect the country that is hosting them, and they strive to prove they are not looking for a passport to a better life," Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.

Flames continued to eat away at the remnants of the burned-out camp Thursday, sending black smoke over destroyed container homes and the charred adjacent hillside, where thousands had lived in a tent city.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Some 400 unaccompanied children from the camp were flown to shelters in northern Greece, while other migrants will remain on Lesbos and be put in emergency accommodations, Petsas said.

"They will not leave [the island] because of the fire," he told reporters.

A ferry and two navy ships will be used as part of the emergency housing, government officials said. In the meantime, thousands of camp residents were sleeping rough on a roadside near the gutted camp.

On a baking-hot stretch of highway about a mile from the Moria camp, Leonie Raymon, a refugee from Cameroon, said he had not received any help or food since fleeing the fires early Wednesday.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to view » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbOwqS6EHvQ]

"Under the stars, I'm going to sleep under the stars like all these people here," he said "[I've] nowhere to go since everything burned, so we slept outside and we'll continue here."

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas was due on the island to discuss emergency European Union aid to help Greece cope with the sudden housing crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he had spoken with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to discuss the promised EU support.

"There is a terrible reality with these fires. Many children, women, men are in these camps in absolutely terrible conditions. We want to show solidarity with Greece that lives up to European values," Macron said Thursday.

The camp at Moria was set up during a wave of migration into Europe in 2015-16 but has been regarded by critics as a symbol of failings in EU migration policy.

The camp accommodated people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia who arrive clandestinely on Lesbos from the nearby Turkish coast. Aid agencies have long warned of dire conditions at Moria, a facility built to house many fewer people -- about 2,750.

Gallery: More fires break out at Greece refugee camp

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/911lesbos/]

On Thursday, locals angered by the situation and the presence of the camp in their area blocked a road to prevent machinery from reaching the camp to clean up.

​​​​​Information for this article was contributed by Lorne Cook, Angela Charlton, Nicholas Paphitis and Derek Gatopoulos of The Associated Press.

A boy tries to stand as migrants sleep on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A boy tries to stand as migrants sleep on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants sleep at a cemetery near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants sleep at a cemetery near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrant boys stand in the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrant boys stand in the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants walk at the burned Moria refugee after a fire, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Fire struck again Wednesday night in Greece's notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept through it and left thousands in need of emergency shelter. The fires caused no injuries, but they renewed criticism of Europe's migration policy. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants walk at the burned Moria refugee after a fire, on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Fire struck again Wednesday night in Greece's notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept through it and left thousands in need of emergency shelter. The fires caused no injuries, but they renewed criticism of Europe's migration policy. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants sleep on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants sleep on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants gather on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Migrants gather on the road near the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A migrant is tighten a plastic bag in the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A migrant is tighten a plastic bag in the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A bulldozer removes the debris from the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A bulldozer removes the debris from the burned Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Flames burn a container in the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Flames burn a container in the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern island of Lesbos, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. A second fire in Greece's notoriously overcrowded Moria refugee camp destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original blaze, Greece's migration ministry said Thursday, leaving thousands more people in need of emergency housing. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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