Fifty-five refugees rescued off Turkish coast

Fifty-five refugees have been rescued after being caught in storm in Aegean Sea off Turkey’s western Mugla province

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Refugees disembark from a dinghy after their failed attempt to sail for the Greek island of Kos from the Turkish coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey on August 20, 2015.

Turkish security forces rescued 55 refugees caught in a storm in the Aegean Sea off Turkey’s western Mugla province.

The police reported that they saved the group while they were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos from Mugla’s Bodrum district on Monday night.

According to witnesses, the storm blew the group’s 9-meter plastic dinghy ashore in Bodrum shortly after the attempted crossing.

The 55 people, including children, came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. Many were initially helped  by local residents.

Turkish media showed local coffee houses and nearby businesses hosting those needing first aid. The injured were then taken to a hospital by the emergency services.

Syrian refugees were sent to facilities owned by the Directorate General of Migration Management while Pakistani and Afghan nationals were sent to the police to be deported.

Refugees board Turkish Coast Guard Search and Rescue ship Umut-703 off the shores of Canakkale, Turkey, after a failed attempt of crossing to the Greek island of Lesbos on November 7, 2015. (Reuters)

Turkey’s Aegean provinces such as Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin are focal points for refugees heading to Europe as well as many Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have made short-but-perilous journeys using unsafe boats over the past year in an attempt to reach northern Europe in hope of a better life.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1.1 million refugees arrived in Europe last year, more than 850,000 of those arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey.

805 people died in the Aegean in 2015. In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea in Greece, IOM reported, more than 200 died off the Turkish coast.

TRTWorld and agencies