At least 18 individuals, most of whom were women, passed away when the vessel sank off the island of Lesbos in Greece early on Thursday, the country’s coastguard reportedly mentioned, in the second maritime disaster involving migrants in the Aegean Sea in less than a day.
The boat had onboard carrying about 40 individuals, authorities mentioned, citing that people who’d been rescued until now. Nearly 18 dead bodies could be recovered, including a man and a boy, and 25 others were successfully saved.
The coast guard stated that the search operation for the survivors continued under extreme weather conditions. The boat reportedly sank in the east of Lesbos, which lies near the Aegean coast of Turkey.
Strong winds in the area made the work more complex, a coast guard spokesman named Nikos Kokkalas informed state TV ERT on Thursday.
Video Credits: Al Mayadeen English
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister, speaking from Prague as he reached for the European Political Community’s inaugural summit, urged Europe to come and work together in a much more meaningful way to prevent incidents like this.
And to thoroughly neutralize the traffickers exploiting innocent and desperate people, who’re striving to reach the European continent on their boat unseaworthy boats, he stated.
Greek authorities had on Wednesday rescued 80 migrants — among them were 18 minors — whose boat reportedly sank in the stormy waters close to the island of Kythira in southern Greece.
Greece was on the front line of a European migration crisis that took place back in 2015 and 2016, when approximately a million refugees fleeing poverty and war in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq reached the country, primarily via Turkey.
The quantity of arrivals has dropped since then. But the Greek authorities mentioned that they had recently experienced a surge in attempted entries via the Turkish land border and the country’s islands.
On Thursday, Ioannis Plakiotakis, the Shipping Minister, said Turkey wasn’t trying hard enough to stop human traffickers from extreme exploitation of the migrants and urged it to respect a deal struck in 2016 with the EU to keep migrants and refugees away from Europe.
Suppose the Turkish coast guard fails to prevent their actions. In that case, traffickers will continue piling unfortunate individuals, without stringent safety measures, into boats that cannot withstand the weather conditions.
Turkey reported that it had boosted the measures to stop individuals from smuggling. Greece has encountered accusations from Ankara, the rights groups, and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR of pushing back refugees and migrants and sinking the vessels, something that Athens has reportedly denied.
References: Dawn, Reuters
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