Three more migrants drown, Greek coastguard rescues 242
The Greek coastguard rescued 242 migrants when their wooden boat sank north of the island of Lesbos on Wednesday, but at least three drowned, including two small boys, authorities said.
“We do not have a picture of how many people may be missing yet,” a coastguard spokeswoman said.
A man and the two boys were found drowned and an extensive search was under way in the area after what was thought to be the largest maritime disaster off Greece in terms of numbers involved since a massive refugee influx began this year.
More than 500,000 refugees and migrants have entered Greece through its outlying islands since January, transiting on to central and northern Europe in what has become the biggest humanitarian crisis on the continent in decades.
Inflows have increased recently as refugees are trying to beat the onset of winter, crossing the narrow sea passages between Turkey and Greece on overcrowded small boats.
“These praiseworthy attempts of the coastguard to save refugees at sea is at risk of now turning into a constant operation of locating and collecting drowned refugees,” Greek shipping minister Thodoris Dritsas said.
Lesbos, which lies less than 10 kilometres from the Turkish coast in the north Aegean Sea, has been a primary gateway for thousands of migrants entering the European Union’s outermost border.
At a summit last Sunday, EU leaders agreed to cooperate further in handling the crisis, and to provide United Nations-aided housing for 100,000 people, half of them in Greece.
Aid organisations say it barely addresses the problem of ensuring safe and legal routes for people to seek refuge.
“What we don’t need in the wake of this tragedy is another ‘extraordinary’ meeting that leads to a dead end. What would be truly out of the ordinary – but completely necessary – is real and concerted action,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe.
You may be interested
Usain Bolt in MykonosPanos - Aug 21, 2017
Usain Bolt is in Mykonos soaking up the sun and sea after a demanding World Athletics Championships in London which…
Naxos Tavern Owner Finds Clever Way to Protest Against Heavy Taxes, AusterityPanos - Aug 21, 2017
A tavern owner on Naxos found an inventive way to protest against the heavy taxes and overall austerity imposed upon…
Russia Prepared to Supply Gas to Both Greece, Bulgaria if NecessaryPanos - Aug 21, 2017
Russia is prepared to supply gas from the TurkStream pipeline to both Greece and Bulgaria if necessary, Russian Energy Minister…