Greek coast guard rescues 216 migrants

Greek coast guard rescue 216 migrants in eastern Aegean

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Greek officials on Thursday confirmed that the country’s coast guard has rescued 216 migrants sailing in the Aegean Sea who entered the country illegally overnight, passing from the Turkish coast to nearby Islands.

The group were picked up near the Kos, Lesbos and Khíos islands in eight different operations.

The recent overnight rescue has raised the total number of migrants saved this week to more than 1,500.

Like Italy, Greece is also struggling to cope with the number of migrants flooding into the country fleeing from poverty, war torn regions and conflict zones.

The Greek coast guard on Wednesday stated that 11,873 people were arrested in April and 6,583 in March on account trying to cross into the country illegally.

Government officials have predicted that almost 37,500 asylum seekers and immigrants have crossed into Greece by sailing this year.

Each day thousands of migrants - mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa - take on deadly journeys to flee their native lands which are in states of conflict.

Migrants often crossing into Serbia through Macedonia and Kosovo after traveling great distances on foot.

Many others take the deadly Mediterranean voyage from Libya to Europe which has already claimed the lives of more than 1,850 people.

A draft document has been revealed by the European Union which aims to distribute 40,000 migrants across EU countries to share the burden on Italy and Greece, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The European Union has also approved a naval mission intended to use military force to stop boats and human traffickers smuggling people into Europe.

The naval mission was agreed upon by the EU foreign and defence ministers on May 18 and is expected to start in June. It aims to destroy the boats owned by smugglers carrying migrants to Europe.


TRTWorld and agencies