Treacherous Aegean Sea claims more migrant lives | News | DW | 30.10.2015
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Treacherous Aegean Sea claims more migrant lives

Dozens of refugees have perished trying to cross from Turkey to Greece this week. Authorities say the death toll is likely to climb as cold winter weather approaches.

At least 50 migrants drowned this week while trying to reach Europe by boat from Turkey as Greece's leadership slammed European leaders for apparent inaction over the rising death toll.

Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said Friday that 19 people had drowned and 138 were rescued near the eastern Greek island of Kalymnos, in one of the worst tragedies in Greek waters since large numbers of Syrian refugees began arriving this summer.

Eight of the victims were children and three were babies.

Meanwhile, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported that four children have drowned and two have been missing since early Friday, after two boats carrying migrants capsized in the Aegean Sea.

The Turkish coast guard rescued 19 migrants, but four children aged between one and 4 years drowned as families tried to reach the island of Lesbos. The second boat sank while en route to the Greek island of Samos. The cooastguard and local fishing boats rescued 29 people, but two babies were reported to be missing.

Friday's deaths bring the toll in the stormy Aegean to at least 50 in just three days.

Greek premier 'ashamed'

Greek fishing boat evacuates migrants in the Aegean

A Greek fishing boat evacuated migrants, most of them Syrians trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament he was ashamed by Europe's lack of collective will as hundreds continued to die off Europe's shores.

"I feel ashamed as a member of this European leadership, both for the inability of Europe in dealing with this human drama, and for the level of debate at a senior level, where one is passing the buck to the other," Tsipras told parliament.

The Greek premier said his country was not asking for money to do its duty, as tens of thousands of refugees continued to flee war, poverty and strife in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

"Greece is in crisis. We are a poor people, but we have retained our values and humanity, and we aren't claiming a single euro to do our duty to people who are dying in our back yard," Tsipras said, after an opposition lawmaker asked what Athens had received in return for agreeing to host refugees in the country.

As of Friday nearly 600 people had been rescued by the Greek coast guard in the previous 24 hours, while thousands more made it safely from Turkey to Greece's southeastern islands, Greek officials said.

jar/jm (AP, Reuters)

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