Seven Migrants Killed as Boat Sinks Off Greek Coast
“If we do not intervene soon, there will be a sea of blood.”
Greek officials confirmed on Tuesday that at least seven people, including two children, were killed earlier in the day after a boat carrying migrants wrecked near the Greek Island of Lesbos.
Identities of the victims, which include two children, four women and a man, remained unidentified but local media said that they are believed to be of African descent.
Officials added that rescue teams are searching for the victims of the sunken boat which is believed to have sailed from Turkey to Lesbos.
In related news, the Greek Coast Guard, along with a European Union patrol boat, earlier rescued scores of migrants off the Aegean coast as their boat sunk.
The BBC reported that Greek newspapers said a number of boats, accompanied by a helicopter, are still conducting search operations in the water between Lesbos and Turkey. The newspapers also reported that Greek officials have questioned 57 survivors of the sunken boat about the number of passengers and their identities.
Migration attempts by various nationalities through Turkey have been reported over the past several years. Back in 2016, the E.U. and Turkey signed a deal which helped decrease the number of people crossing to Greece.
Based on that deal, migrants who arrive at Greece’s territorial waters must be returned to Turkey unless they prove to be eligible asylum seekers.
Human Rights Watch recently warned that violence has been reported at the Greece-Turkey land borders, as Greek authorities returned migrants to Turkey.
As the number of Lybian migrants fleeing the current civil war in their country increases, the United Nations Refugee Agency expressed concern on Sunday over a shortage of rescue lifeboats which could increase the death toll among migrants.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. Refugee Agency, Carlotta Sami, was quoted by the Guardian as saying, “If we do not intervene soon, there will be a sea of blood.”
According to U.N. records around 22,000 migrants of various nationalities have arrived in E.U. countries via sea since early 2019.