At least 43 people, including 17 children, drowned when their boats capsized off two Greek islands near the Turkish coast on Friday (Saturday NZ Time), coastguards said, marking one of the deadliest days for migrants risking the perilous route to Europe from Turkey.
According to survivors’ testimonies, dozens were on board a wooden sailboat which went down off Kalolimnos, a small island in the Aegean Sea close to Turkey’s coast, one coastguard official said.
Twenty six people were rescued and at least 35 migrants drowned in one of the worst incidents in months, the official said. It was not clear why the vessel capsized, but witnesses said strong winds were blowing at the time.
But a reminder of why it is better to incentivise refugees and asylum seekers to go through the UNHCR system and refugee camps, rather than kill themselves taking dangerous journeys by sea in the hope of reaching Europe.