UN High Commission for Refugees expresses sorrow over migrant boat shipwreck off Lesvos

UN High Commission for Refugees expresses sorrow over migrant boat shipwreck off Lesvos

The UN High Commission for Refugees on Tuesday expressed sorrow over the migrant boat shipwreck in the sea region of Lesvos and asked for greater efforts to provide “safe and legal routes to Europe.”

According to the same announcement, UNHCR staff are visiting the area to provide support to survivors and the Greek authorities.

“ This tragedy is a painful reminder that people continue to take perilous journeys to reach the Greek Aegean islands,” said Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece.

“ Redoubled efforts are needed to ensure safe and legal ways to reach Europe, so people stop risking their lives in the hands of ruthless traffickers and smugglers.”

During the year, almost 10,700 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea, and 39 have lost their lives during this trip.

The discovery of the dead body of another little girl has raised the death toll from the shipwreck of a boat carrying migrants to seven, authorities said on Tuesday. So far, rescue workers have recovered seven dead bodies: two children, four women and a man, all of them of African origin.
Another 57 people, also from Africa, have been rescued from the shipwreck that occurred at 7:00 on Tuesday morning, about 2.5 nautical miles from Pamfyla near Mytilene, Lesvos.
The migrants had set off from the Turkish shore in a plastic dinghy at about 2:00 on Tuesday morning but the overladen dinghy capsized shortly before reaching the island of Lesvos, even though the weather at the time was calm.
The rescue operation was carried out by Greek coast guard and Frontex vessels, as well as a Super Puma helicopter, who are continuing patrols to find more possible survivors or bodies.