At least 77 kids drown at sea since Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, says migration group
A MIGRATION group says at least 77 children have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe since the lifeless body of a three-year-old Syrian boy on a Turkish beach made worldwide headlines two months ago.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says over 724,000 people seeking refuge in Europe have crossed the Mediterranean this year, 80 per cent of them between Turkey and Greece.
Saved from death ... Spanish lifeguard saves a migrant child as the boat he had boarded with other migrants and refugees sinks off the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey.Source:AFP
As of Friday morning, the agency said 3329 people had died trying.
The potentially deadly nature of the crossing came to light again with the capsizing or sinking of several smugglers’ boats on Friday in the Aegean.
IOM says at least eight children were among the dead.
Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi was found dead on September 2 as his family sought to reach Greece from Turkey.
Greek authorities have raised the death toll from Wednesday’s sinking of a boat crammed with 300 migrants in the eastern Aegean Sea to 29, from 16.
The image that shocked the world ... a paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi. He was only three years old.Source:AP
The Merchant Marine Ministry said late Friday that a total 274 people have been rescued from the sea off the northern coast of Lesbos island, in a frantic operation that joined coast guard vessels, a helicopter, fishing boats and search teams on land.
Many of the dead were young children and babies.
Lesbos is the main destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and Africa, seeking a better life in the European Union.
They cross in unseaworthy boats from Turkey, paying smuggling gangs large sums for the service.
Humanitarian crisis ... a migrant carrying her child, disembarks, with other refugees and migrants, from a government chartered ferry, at the port of Piraeus in Greece.Source:AFP
Spain’s marine rescue service says nearly 40 people who are dead or missing fell into the sea when the bottom of their Zodiac-type inflatable boat collapsed.
Photographs on the service’s web site showed the survivors straddling the sides of the boat that remained afloat.
The group had been trying to reach Spain from Morocco. The 15 survivors were found in an area of the Mediterranean Sea northeast of the Moroccan coastal city of Alhucemas and taken to the southern Spanish port of Malaga.
Four bodies were found and 35 people are still missing.
African migrants seeking a better life in Europe often try to reach Spain by crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco.
Lucky to be alive ... A man holds a child on a beach shortly after arriving with around 125 people to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos from the Turkish coast.Source:AP
Tens of thousands of migrants also try to make it to Italy and Greece from North Africa and the Middle East each year
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has expressed “endless grief” at the new migrant tragedies in the Aegean Sea, saying they put Europe to shame.
Tsipras accused the European Union of inability to effectively address the humanitarian crisis, and said Western countries that took part in military interventions in the Middle East bear responsibility for the mass migrant flows.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Tsipras said that the Aegean is washing up “not just dead children, but the very civilisation of Europe”.