Sunday 4 December 2016

Island has nowhere to bury the drowned

Tanya Troy in Athens

Published 03/11/2015 | 02:30

A group of migrants waits to cross the border from the village of Sentilj, Slovenia into Spielfeld in Austria
A group of migrants waits to cross the border from the village of Sentilj, Slovenia into Spielfeld in Austria

The mayor of the Greek island of Lesbos has said there is no more room to bury the increasing number of asylum-seekers killed in shipwrecks of smuggling boats coming in from nearby Turkey.

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Mayor Spyros Galinos told Greece's Vima FM radio yesterday that there were more than 50 bodies in the morgue on the eastern Aegean island that he was still trying to find a burial location for.

Mr Galinos said he was trying to fast-track procedures so a field next to the main ceme- tery could be taken over for burials.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made the short but dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greek islands this year.

With rougher weather coming on, the bodies of 19 people were recovered from the Aegean in three separate incidents on Sunday alone.

Missing

Yesterday, four refugees drowned and six were missing off the Greek island of Farmakonisi after their boat sank, the Greek coastguard said.

Four people were rescued, a spokesman said in a statement.

The vessel the migrants were travelling on sank in an unknown location north of the island. Eleven people, including six infants, drowned on Sunday when their boat capsized off the island of Samos, trapping them in the cabin.

The toll from drowning among thousands of refugees making the crossing from Turkey to Greece's outlying eastern islands has risen in recent weeks with the onset of colder weather and rougher seas

There were near-gale force winds blowing in the Aegean at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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