A Spanish lifeguard rescues a child as a boat with refugees and migrants sank on Friday while crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey to reach the Greek island of Lesbos. At least 17 children drowned when three boats sank en route from Turkey to Greece, officials said Friday, the latest tragedy to strike migrants braving wintry seas to seek asylum in Europe. | AFP-JIJI
The group said over 450 refugees and migrants had died or gone missing in successive Aegean Sea sinkings in the first 10 months of the year.
This included 86 people including many children who drowned or were missing in seven accidents near the shores of Lesbos, Samos, Kalymnos and Rhodes between Oct. 28 and Friday.
The Greek coast guard on Monday said the death toll from the Lesbos accident had risen to 43, including 19 children and a baby.
Amnesty noted that a 12.5-km fence erected on Greece’s border with Turkey in 2012 had exacerbated the problem.
“The fence … has forced refugees and migrants to choose the more dangerous sea route from Turkey to Greece,” it said.
However, the Greek minister responsible for migration said that although the leftist government was ideologically opposed to the fence, tearing it down was not an option for now.
“At the present time, the conditions to obtain a positive result from tearing down the fence do not exist,” Yiannis Mouzalas told Efimerida ton Syntakton daily.
“In contrast, this could exacerbate the problem both for the refugees and for Greece,” he said, noting that before the fence was built, many migrants had died attempting to cross the land border with Turkey.
Many of the migrants had in the past fallen victim to subzero temperatures or to border land mines.
Spanish Lifeguards do really a lot in Greece. Respect for Heros!