Toddler becomes first refugee to die in new year

Another toddler drowns in Aegean Sea, becoming first refugee casualty in 2016

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Refugees continue to take risky sea voyages across the choppy Mediterranean waters on unsafe boats which claimed the lives of thousands.

Greek coastguards said on Saturday that fishermen had found the body of a two year-old boy - the first known refugee casualty of 2016 - after the boat carrying him from Turkey sank off the coast of Greece's Agathonisi island.

Coastguards also said that they saved 39 other refugees who had been aboard the vessel along with the toddler, adding that ten of them were taken to hospital for treatment for hypothermia.

The refugees, whose nationalities have not yet been clarified, were taken to the nearest island - Samos.

Over one million refugees fleeing war and poverty from different parts of the globe have entered Europe in 2015 alone, many taking risky sea voyages across the choppy Mediterranean waters on unsafe boats.

A heart-wrenching symbol of the refugee crisis was a photograph of the lifeless body of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, lying face down on the beach in a red-t shirt after being drowned while his family were attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos.

However, Aylan’s death was not the first time a child had fallen victim to the perilous sea crossing.

Turkish coast guard rescues 57 refugees

On Sunday Turkish coast guards saved 57 refugees who were stranded on a tiny island in the Aegean Sea as they were trying to reach Greece.

A total number of 12 refugees, including three sick children, were rescued with an air supported operation from the island near Turkey’s coastal Izmir Province.

No information was shared regarding the nationalities of the refugees.

No other casualties from the incident were reported.

Turkey is a transit point for refugees aiming to reach European countries from Syria and Iraq because of its geography bridging the Middle East and Europe.

Hosting the most Syrian refugees in the world according to the registration records of the United Nations, Turkey has spent more than $8 billion of its own resources on the refugees it hosts. There are currently 2.2 million refugees in Turkey.

TRTWorld and agencies