Greece says 21 die after refugee boats sink in Aegean Sea

21 people die after two boats carrying refugees from Turkey to Greece sink in Aegean Sea

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Greek Coast Guard helicopter flies over a Frontex vessel trying to rescue refugees after a boat carrying more than 200 people sunk near the Greek island of Lesbos on October 28, 2015

Greek authorities said on Friday that 21 people died after two boats carrying refugees from Turkey to Greece sank overnight in the eastern Aegean Sea, which are the latest deadly incidents.

The Merchant Marine Ministry reported that 18 people died and 138 were rescued near the island of Kalymnos as another separate incident early on Friday left three dead and six rescued off the island of Rhodes.

On Wednesday, Greek coast guard witnessed a new refugee crisis, they rescued 242 refugees from a wooden boat north of the island of Lesbos, but at least eight refugees, including two small boys drowned. An extensive search continued on Thursday in an attempt to rescue 30 people who were believed to have been missing.

The incidents occurred amid an increase of crossings to Greek islands of refugees who fled from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries as winter approaches and European governments have been considering to take tougher measures to limit the number of arrivals in Europe.

Many countries have closed their borders to control a flow of refugees entering their countries. Some of them have tightened border controls to reduce refugee influx. However, the measures could not stop refugees escaping war, persecution and poverty in their countries. They keep trying to enter Europe by unsafe boats to reach safer places.

Afghan refugees in an overcrowded raft arrive at a beach during a rainstorm on the Greek island of Lesbos on October 24, 2015 (Reuters)

Almost every day refugees lose their lives at sea in the area between Turkey and Greece. Although the beginning of winter is a dangerous time to be travelling from Turkey to Greece by boat, due to harsh weather conditions, refugees still continue to travel.

According to the International Organization for Migration’s statement, 48,000 refugees arrived last week in Greece.. A woman and two children drowned on Sunday when their boat crashed into rocks near the Greek island of Lesbos.

Lesbos has been the destination of thousands of refugees who have reached Greece in the last few weeks.

More than 550,000 refugees have arrived on the shores of Greece as of this year. Authorities and relief agencies say Lesbos is running out of space to bury the dead people.

Over 3,000 people have lost their lives, while at least 700,000 refugees have reached Europe’s shores through the Mediterranean since the start of the year till October 2015 and 20 percent of refugees who arrived in Europe were children, UN refugee agency said on Tuesday

This has been said to be the worst refugee crisis since World War II, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

TRTWorld and agencies