Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity and closeness to the victims of the Moria refugee camp fire. Speaking after the Angelus prayer last Sunday, the Pope recalled the massive fire that devastated the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

He told those gathered in St Peter’s Square, that the memory of his 2016 visit there remained with him and “the appeal launched together with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Hieronymus from Athens to ensure a humane and dignified welcome to migrant women and men, to refugees, to those seeking asylum in Europe.”

Pope Francis visited the camp in April 2016 and he took the opportunity to express his closeness and solidarity to the refugees and to call for urgently needed EU asylum-seeker policy reform.

He also returned to Italy with three families of Syrian asylum seekers, whose reception and sustenance was taken care of by the Holy See, while the hospitality and the path of integration was provided by the Sant’Egidio Community.

Before the fire reduced the Moria camp to ruins, it was home to around 13,000 people living in overcrowded conditions. Thousands of men, women and children are now without a roof over their heads, and Greek authorities are struggling to find them shelter.

Pope Francis said, “I express solidarity and closeness to all the victims of these dramatic events”.

ENDS