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More pain in the Aegean

 

February 2016

In the most recent incidents last week, two boats carrying refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece have sunk in the Aegean, leaving 41 dead with 17 children among them.

In two separate incidents off the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Farmakonisi, at least 21 people lost their lives, while dozens were saved by the Hellenic Coast Guard.

In the Kalymnos island area, a boat carrying an unknown number of refugees and migrants sank, despite the good weather conditions. The coast guard rescue boats pulled 34 dead out of the water – 11 of them children – and rescued 26 people. According to survivors, more than 80 people were aboard the vessel.

Australian saves lives

An Australian volunteer lifesaver from Melbourne, Simon Lewis, has travelled to Greece, to participate in the efforts to rescue refugees, attempting to reach the Greek island of Lesvos.

The 32-year-old lifesaver has joined the 24-hour crisis center on Lesvos for eight days.

Lewis "felt compelled" to join the efforts, after seeing the image of a three-year-old boy who drowned near the Turkish coast. "They don’t really put themselves in a boat to go across the sea for no good reason. They’re fleeing, they’re panicking and they’re fearful," he said.

"Some of them can’t swim, and some of them have never seen the water before, and they’re making that journey for freedom for a better life at all costs" he added.

Huge refugee inflow

The migrant inflow to Europe will continue at a minimum rate of about 1.3 million people each year for the next three years, according to an International Monetary Fund forecast. The IMF presented its report at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland last week. The IMF estimates that the number of migrants who will enter Europe will exceed 4 million. The report says migrants from the Middle East will short push the European economy, but the long term benefits will depend on the degree of their integration in local communities.

 

Greek Tribune

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