At least 22 people died and dozens are missing after two separate boats carrying migrants met with accidents near the Greek coast on Thursday, October 6, AP reported.
The first boat carrying around 40 passengers – reportedly all women – sank off the island of Lesbos due to strong winds. According to news reports, 16 bodies have been recovered but over a dozen women are still missing. The remaining have been rescued by coast guards. Most of the dead are from Africa. However, authorities were unable to confirm exact nationalities as the rescue operation was still on.
At least 15 people, most of them women, died when their boat sank off the #Greek island of #Lesbos in the second maritime disaster involving migrants in the Aegean Sea in under a day. pic.twitter.com/z7oqGypPMt
— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) October 6, 2022
In the second incident, a boat carrying nearly 95 people crashed into a rocky cliff off the island of Kythira late on Wednesday. Most of the people on board tried to save themselves from drowning by climbing the rocks nearby and were helped by locals. At least six of them were reported dead and 11 are still missing.
Most of the people in the Kythira incident were from West Asian countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is the third such incident in less than a month in the eastern Mediterranean. In September, close to 100 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, died off the coast of Syria while trying to cross to Europe from Lebanon. In the beginning of September, two children had died on board an overcrowded boat after European officials refused to carry out a rescue operation despite repeated distress calls.
A large number of people from countries in Africa and Asia, affected by war and economic distress, have been trying to migrate to Europe in search of a secure living. However, the European Union (EU) has adopted a harsh, discriminatory, and illegal anti-refugee and anti-migrant policies which forces people to look for “illegal” and often dangerous means to travel to Europe, like in boats across the Mediterranean. Europe’s notorious border agency Frontex does not allow most of these ships to enter the coast and pushes them into the sea, known as the policy of “pushbacks.”
Some boats are forced to return to the African coast where migrants are arrested and kept in dangerous conditions in detention centers in Libya. A large number of boats remain stranded at sea for weeks and months, with some eventually sinking, leading to the tragic deaths of the people on board. Many occupants of such boats have also died due to lack of food or water, and suffocation.
The dying will not stop by preventing people from departing or through more border control. It can only be stopped by safe and open migration routes. We send strength and solidarity to all the survivors, relatives & friends.#BordersKill – we need #FreedomOfMovementForAll!
— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) October 6, 2022
Every year, thousands of people die or go missing in the Mediterranean due to what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi calls the racist migrant policy of Europe. According to IOM, nearly 25,000 people have died in such incidents since 2014.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently criticized Europe, particularly Greece, for adopting an oppressive pushback policy that has turned the Aegean sea into a “graveyard for migrants.”