Greece: Forty-five die in Aegean refugee boat disasters

23rd Jan 2016
Greece: Forty-five die in Aegean refugee boat disasters
By Bahri Asik and Mehmet Hatipoglu

 

KOMOTINI, (AA) : At least 45 people have died after three boats carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea on Friday.

The Greek Coast Guard recovered the bodies of 34 people, including 11 children and 16 women, after a sailing boat sank in the sea off Kalolimnos island.

They also rescued 26 people so far, sending them to Leros island.

Greek news agency ANA-MPA reported that according to survivors, almost 70-100 people were on board.

Earlier on Friday morning, the bodies of six children and one woman were retrieved after a wooden boat, which had been carrying 48 people, crashed into rocks on the eastern coast of the Greek island of Farmakonisi.

The Greek authorities said they managed to rescue one girl, while 40 people who had been onboard managed to reach land on their own.

Meanwhile, in another incident, at least four people died after a boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey’s western Aydin coast.

The incident occurred Friday off the coast of Didim district as the boat was sailing towards the Greek island of Farmakonisi, Didim district governor Iskender Yonden told Anadolu Agency.

Yonden said that six wounded refugees were rescued but the bodies of three others were recovered from the sea.

The wounded refugees were taken to Didim state hospital.

Health officials announced that one of the injured later died at the facility.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short-but-perilous journeys across the Aegean Sea to reach northern and Western Europe in search for a better life. Worsening weather conditions in the winter make the trip even more dangerous.

Of the more than one million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea in Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean.

In the first two weeks of 2016, more than 23,000 people arrived by sea in Greece and 50 have died, the IOM said.

-Vasiliki Mitsiniotou contributed to this report from Athens.

 

 
[Photo: Turkish Coast Guard personnel help refugees as they swim with buoys, after they toppled over a fishermen dinghy en route to Greece on January 22, 2016 in Didim district of Aydin, Turkey. Photojournalist Emin Mengüarslan/AA]

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