Athens: At least 34 migrants drowned in the Aegean Sea off the coasts of Farmakonissi island trying to reach Europe, according to the Greek Coast Guards.
Sunday’s new tragedy has shocked Greece which reiterated calls for urgent, coordinated EU action to deal with the unprecedented influx of desperate undocumented immigrants and refugees this year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The wooden boat was carrying a still undetermined number of migrants from Turkey to Greece (survivors said there were 100-120 people on board), Greek Coast Guard forces said.
According to the latest information, four infants and eleven children were among the victims.
The sources also said the boat was overloaded by the smugglers on the Turkish shores.
The tragedy occurred as the Greek caretaker Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou during a visit to Aegean Sea islands which have been most affected by the influx, dismissed criticism over Greece’s failure to offer adequate assistance to refugees and migrants as unfair.
The premier urged critics to consider whether “Europe in the future can be constructed by erecting walls.”
According to the latest official estimates, more than 230,000 refugees and migrants have reached Greece’s shores from the start of 2015 seeking a better future in central and northern European countries.
More than 2,700 people have perished in the sea during their attempt in the Mediterranean this year.
First Published | 14 September 2015 10:00 AM