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tv   Our World  BBC News  December 29, 2020 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

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in coronavirus cases, up by more than 53,000 in a single day. health officials say they're extremely concerned. english hospitals are now treating more covid patients than at the peak of the first wave. us president—electjoe biden has said he'll use the defense production act to speed up the coronavirus vaccine. he said 2 million americans have had the jab, well short of president trump's pledge of 20 million by the end of the year. croatia has been hit by its strongest earthquake for decades. latest reports say seven people died in the quake, which had a magnitude of 6.4. and tributes are paid to legendary french fashion designer pierre cardin, who's died at the age of 98. now on bbc news, a special programme from the our world team. on september 8, 2020, the moria refugee camp on the greek island
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of lesbos went up in flames. gabriel gatehouse investigates the events surrounding the blaze. 0n the night of the 8th of september, europe's largest refugee camp went up in flames. the greek authorities say the fire was started
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by the refugees themselves, angry at conditions in the camp. more than 12,000 people already living in dire conditions were burned out of their tents. among them was a group of young filmmakers, most of them refugees from afghanistan. they've shared their footage with us. and what file number is that? a huge archive of evidence from the fire and its aftermath that raises troubling questions about the blaze and about europe's dysfunctional policies on migration.
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since his early teens, yaser taheri has wanted to be a film—maker. now 16 years old, he arrived on lesbos with his family in january after a ten—month journey from afghanistan. moria was built as a temporary camp to house 3000 refugees. by the time yaser arrived, it had burst at the seams with 2a,000 people living in squalor, waiting sometimes for years for their asylum claims to be processed. crying violence, disease and mental illness were commonplace.
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yaser found an organisation called refocus, an ngo that teaches camera skills to help the residents of moria document their lives in the camp. then came the pandemic. since march, the camp had been under lockdown. but it wasn't until the start of september that they diagnosed the first positive case. the authorities began isolating suspected cases in a specially—built quarantine zone inside the camp and that may have been a catalyst for what happened next. so this is...
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we're back to 8 september, yeah? in the footage that yaser shot on the night of the fire, we see a red car with its window smashed in. yaser follows the crowd to the covid zone, where the migrants release those held in quarantine. two hours later, what was a disturbance has become a riot. and it's now that the blaze really gets going. just tell me what we're looking at here.
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who filmed this? milad ebrahimi, 21 years old, also from afghanistan, is another member of the film—makers group. protests were not uncommon in the camp, nor were fires, but they'd always been kept under control — until this night.
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was the camp torched by migrants as the greek authorities maintain? some of the fires were lit by refugees. on that, milad and yaser both agree, but they don't believe that's the full story. so, in your understanding of what actually happened, who started the first fires and then what happened? small fires in protest?
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among the residents of the camp, few believe the official greek narrative. instead, they blame the fire on angry locals and far—right activists. just a few miles off the turkish coast, lesbos has long been one of the main entry points for refugees and migrants coming to europe. at the height of the migration crisis five years ago, thousands of people were arriving on boats here every day. when we came, we found local people who were proud of a long tradition of hospitality. then came the eu—turkey deal, agreed in 2016, which effectively closed off
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europe's borders and turned islands like lesbos into permanent detention centres. when we returned here in spring this year, the mood had changed. there were reports of vigilante groups attacking migrants and ngo workers. a fire at a smaller refugee centre was blamed on far—right activists. near the camp in moria village, angry locals had set up a roadblock. the regional governor arrived to try to calm things down. are you worried about the rise of the right? very worried, very worried. because i know that many times, many countries, the extreme right take profit out of the situations. if this situation continues, then what will happen? that would be catastrophic, it has to stop. in moria village today, we could find only one person who was willing to talk to us. panagiotis deligiannis, he's lived here all his life.
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but as the camp grew, so did divisions within the village. some were making money letting their fields to the government or ngos to house the refugees. 0thers felt swamped as migrants at times outnumbered villagers by a factor of more than ten. 0n the night of the blaze, panagiotis called the fire brigade, who initially told him they were busy with other fires elsewhere on the island.
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you know this area, you know how fires — there've been fires here before, you've seen them happen — do you think this could have been an accident? no, no accident, no—no, no. if locals were somehow involved in the fire, people here will almost certainly know about it and if so, they're not saying. less than two miles from moria village, thousands of refugees are still camped out by the side of the road.
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they've been here for days now — without shelter, without sanitation or proper access to food and water. nearby, a new camp is being built. some refugees are already moving in. but many worry it will be harder to come and go freely and for us, finding witnesses to the fire may become more difficult. but for now, there are still people searching through the remains of the old camp, and here, we find someone who can tell us more about what happened. so, yaser says that this guy says he saw some local greeks helping set fire to the camp.
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it seems that some people — who were not refugees or migrants — were, at the very least, seizing the opportunity to stoke the flames. it's 5:30am, and we get a tipoff that the police are about to start clearing all the refugees off the road and into the new camp. well, the police have stopped us from driving through at the checkpoints, so we're taking the back roads and trying to climb in over the mountainside. as the camp wakes up, news of the police operation begins to spread. beyond the police cordon, officers in protective suits are clearing the roadside.
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section by section, the riot police move forward, while officers in plain clothes tell the refugees to pack up. and they don't like the cameras. the new camp is built on a disused military firing range, enclosed by the sea on one side and fences on the other. those who want to remain outside must now avoid the police. milad has been on lesbos for about nine months. he's afghan, but he's come from iran.
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his parents sought refuge there when he was a young boy. his decision to leave behind an imperfect, but relatively secure situation was a complicated one.
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so far, for milad, europe has not turned out to be that kind of place. he and yaser are still resisting the new camp, trying to help us unravel what really happened. in the footage they filmed in the aftermath of the fire, there is another piece of the puzzle. yaser, did you find yourfamily? yeah. where are they? over here? these pictures were filmed a little after 7pm the evening after the fire. this is insanity, man. the american voice you hear is doug herman, who runs refocus, the film—makers‘ ngo. they walk through the half—burnt camp to check on yaser‘s family. hello, stranger, how are you? i'm good, thanks. good to see you again.
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hmm? oh, man. at 7:23, a second fire. much of the camp had burnt the previous night, but not all of it. now it looks like someone is back to finish the job. it's really going up now. oh my god. the fire spreads rapidly through the remaining tents. what is he trying to get?
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the cat? oh, come on, come on, don't go in there! no, no, no. oh, my god, this is hot. stand back! but here's an odd detail. going back through the footage again, people are packing up and leaving before seven o'clock, before the second fire starts. it seems like a lot of refugees in the camp knew what was about to happen, including milad. so it seems the second fire, at least, was not a spontaneous event.
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but if it was planned, then by who and who else knew? the film—makers tell me about a conversation they overheard among a group of camp residents earlier that morning. he said that. you heard him say that? if that's true, that means the locals basically helped a number of refugees to burn this whole place down. we managed to track down one of the migrants in this conversation. perhaps unsurprisingly, he told a different story.
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he said the fire was the work of fascists — the term many migrants use to refer to local far right activists. one thing seems clear, many residents of lesbos, locals and migrants alike, found themselves in an intolerable situation they felt powerless to change. they felt stuck? and in a way, you can understand the locals as well, who've been with this for five years. in their attempt to stem the flow of migrants across europe, the greek government and the eu turned lesbos and other islands into pressure cookers. the moria fire was, perhaps,
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an inevitable consequence. it's ten days since the fire. we get a message from yaser. yaser, hey, what's going on? the authorities now say anyone who wants their asylum claim to be considered must first come here. no—one knows exactly what to expect. will yaser and milad be separated? the families from the single men?
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once inside, will they be allowed out again? most people here say they'd be happyjust to make it off the island. yaser and his family hope one day to reach germany. the old moria embodied the failures of the eu's migration politics. now it's gone, in brussels, they're talking of a new start. but behind these fences, it feels like they've swapped one prison for another.
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in ten years‘ time, when this is all over, where do you see yourself? in ten years, well, since this situation is so uncertain i don't really know, i can't really plan for it. or maybe in ten years, i am going to still be in this closed camp. i still don't know. yes, accept the reality. this is the world. it's like — people don't respect the differences between each other. but i still have hope that the world is notjust darkness. there's a narrow, bright light inside this dark world.
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hello there. we've had a fair amount of snow across parts of the uk. the last few days, we've seen quite a bit across northern and western parts of england and in towards wales, and that's obviously led to some pretty treacherous conditions on untreated roads and pavements regarding ice. that's likely to continue for the rest of the week. now, if it hasn't snowed where you are, you could be seeing some snow as we move through the latter part of this week, as it stays cold, frosty with further rain, sleet and snow for some. but there will continue to be some sunshine around as well. so this is the forecast, then, for the last week of 2020. you can see where our air source is coming from, from the arctic on northerly winds. and we've got these features enhanced in the shower activity, one across the north of scotland into wednesday and another feature running into the south west
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of england through the day. that's going to bring increasing cloud, outbreaks of rain initially and then it'll turn to sleet and snow. as it moves a little bit further eastwards, it bumps into the cold air inland. a bit of uncertainty to the northwards—southwards extent of this feature, so you'll have to stay tuned to the forecast. but it does like it could spread across southern england into the south east of england during wednesday night, bringing a dusting of snow certainly over the higher ground. meanwhile, this front will be bringing a line of showers, of rain, sleet and certainly some snow over the higher ground of central, southern scotland and northern england. it's going to be a cold night wednesday night wherever you are, subzero values and a significant risk of ice in places. so, this is the pressure chart for thursday. we've got low pressure out in the north sea. this feature continuing to bring a mixture of rain, sleet and certainly some snow inland and over the higher ground of southern scotland, northern england. it could push a bit further southwards into western parts of england and wales through the course of the day. and it will be quite windy out west, so here, it'll feel even colder cos of the strength of the winds. further east, could see some sunshine around and will see
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the last of that front just clearing away from the south east. so, as we head on into friday, which of course is new year's day, it'll be a cold one for all areas. we've still got low pressure out in the east, higher pressure further west. that's bringing northerly winds, and that's bringing further showers to northern and eastern coasts in particular. and these will be of a wintry flavour, especially inland and over hills. further south and west, one or two coastal showers. 0therwise, quite a bit of dry weather out around, perhaps some sunshine too. so, as we move out of new year's day into the first weekend of january 2021, we'll start to see higher pressure trying to build in across western areas, but still with low pressure out in the north sea. that'll bring a run of northerly winds, but as we head on into the weekend, there's a chance we start to the winds turning a bit more north—easterly, so that'll feed most of the showers into eastern scotland and eastern england, with central and western parts of the uk tending to stay drier with increasing amounts of sunshine. but it's still going to be cold. you notice our area of high pressure
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builds in across the north and the west of the uk. lower pressure over the near continent. if anything, we'll start to pull in a stronger east—north—easterly wind, so that'll drive in some showers off the north sea into eastern coastal areas, but with the strength of the wind, could even push them across the pennines into western parts of england at times. as well could see a few running into northern ireland. so, a mixture on sunday of wintry showers and sunny spells. as we move into the following week, it could be that low pressure starts to move up from the south, could bump into the cold air for a while to produce some sleet and snow, certainly for southern areas. but it's a long way off. you'll have to stay tuned to the forecast into next week. you can see it's still staying cold. a lot of dry weather around, but also variable cloud and the chance of some sleet and snow in the south.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the us president—electjoe biden criticses the vaccine roll—out and pledges 100 million jabs in his first 100 days. this is going to take time. we might not see improvement until well into march. the uk registers another record—breaking surge in coronavirus cases, up by more than 53,000 in a single day. if the virus is allowed to continue to transmit and increase, particularly with the new strain of virus, there could be catastrophic consequences in terms of the numbers of hospitalisations and deaths. croatia is hit by its strongest earthquake for decades.


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