More deaths reported in eastern Aegean waters
The bodies of a child and four women were recovered northeast of the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Saturday morning, while another five people – including a minor – were rescued by a Frontex vessel.
The incident is the latest tragic result of continuing attempts by third country nationals – mostly Mideast war refugees but also irregular migrants – to land on various Greek isles after disembarking from neighboring Turkey. The latter has emerged as the biggest “mustering point” for illegal migration into the European Union.
According to statements from survivors, 10 people were in an inflatable craft when it overturned near island.
Meanwhile, another 97 third country nationals were returned on Friday to Turkey via the Kipi border post on the land border between Greece and Turkey, in the Thrace province.
Of the group, 71 were from Pakistan and 20 from Bangladesh, with the remaining third country nationals hailed from Algeria, Iran and Morocco. Another 72 undocumented migrants are set for deportation on Monday.
Back on the Greek mainland, nearly 4,600 people remained stranded in two passenger terminals at the port of Piraeus, with only 114 accepting an offer for temporary lodging at children’s summer camp in central Greece.
In a bid to persuade the third country nationals to leave the port’s premises, Greek authorities on Monday will distribute pamphlets in four languages – Arabic, Farsi, Greek and English.
Further north, some 500 refugees blocked the Larissa-Trikala highway on Friday in protest to living conditions at a nearby temporary shelter where they are being hosted. They also protested their sharing of the camp with groups of Afghan irregular migrants, most of whom are young males.
Greek authorities continue to maintain that 53,000 refugees and irregular migrants – recent arrivals – are still in the country, of which roughly 11,200 are stranded at a northern Greece border post of Idomeni.
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