Three people perished on Friday in the sinking of a boat with migrants on board in the Aegean Sea, a few hours after a first sinking which left 11 dead, according to the Greek coast guard. The three bodies were recovered and 57 people were rescued after the shipwreck off the island of Paros, according to the same sources.
A few hours earlier, 11 bodies had been recovered after the sinking of a boat with a hundred migrants on board, stranded Thursday on an islet in southern Greece. Some 90 survivors, including 52 men, 11 women and 27 children were rescued and evacuated on Friday morning from this islet located north of the Greek island of Antikythera, an official of the Greek coastguard told AFP. .
« Search and rescue operations are continuing because it is still not clear how many people were in the boat before it sank, » he added. Thursday’s sinking had already occurred the day after the capsizing of an inflatable boat carrying migrants off the island of Folegandros, also in southern Greece, which left at least three dead.
2,500 dead in the Mediterranean this year
Thirteen people – mainly Iraqis, but also Syrians and Egyptians – were rescued, but dozens more are still missing, according to the Greek authorities.
Survivors have given conflicting accounts, with some saying there were initially 32 people on board, while others put the figure at around 50, a coast guard official told AFP. The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said the shipwreck off Folegandros was the worst in the Aegean Sea this year.
« This shipwreck reminds us painfully that people continue to embark on perilous journeys in search of safety », reacted Adriano Silvestri, the deputy representative of the UNHCR in Greece.
UNHCR estimates that more than 2,500 people died or disappeared at sea trying to reach Europe between January and November. Almost a million people, mostly Syrian refugees, arrived in the EU in 2015 after traveling from Turkey to nearby Greek islands.