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  Five Afghans, including baby, drown trying to reach Greece

Five Afghans, including baby, drown trying to reach Greece

REUTERS
Published : Mar 11, 2016, 7:00 am IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2016, 7:00 am IST

Five Afghans, including two children and a six-month old baby, drowned in the Aegean overnight trying to reach Greece as Turkey starts to implement an EU agreement to curb illegal migration.

Five Afghans, including two children and a six-month old baby, drowned in the Aegean overnight trying to reach Greece as Turkey starts to implement an EU agreement to curb illegal migration.

The stream of migrants risking perilous sea crossings has so far shown little sign of abating after Turkey reached the draft deal with the EU on Monday, under which it will try to stem the flow in return for funding and political rewards.

One of the victims from Wednesday night’s capsize, in which their boat hit rough weather as it travelled toward the Greek island of Lesbos, managed to swim ashore but died during attempts to revive him, a Coast Guard official said.

Of the four bodies found at sea, one was that of a six-month-old baby, rescuers said. Nine other people were pulled from the water alive.

“The rescue operation for the two others is continuing,” the Coast Guard official said. Initial reports suggested Iranians were also among the group, but the Coast Guard later confirmed this was not the case.

Meanwhile, data from EU border agency Frontex showed on Thursday that nearly half a million irregular migrants arrived in Greece in the last three months of 2015, most of whom then moved north through the Balkans.

Frontex, which collates data on the number of irregular border crossings, recorded 4,84,000 such incidents on the Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece between October and December and 4,66,000 on the Western Balkan route, notably people re-entering the European Union at the Croatian border from non-EU Serbia.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul