Baby and child dead after boat sinks in Aegean Sea, one of the deadliest migration routes
A two-month-old baby and a young child died after a boat carrying 35 migrants across the Aegean Sea sunk on 14 October. The boat was attempting to reach the Greek island of Lesbos when it started sinking. The Turkish coastguard was able to rescue 33 other people on board, and found the bodies of a young child and an infant.
The Aegean Sea, connecting Turkey to Europe, continues to be one of the deadliest journeys for migrants to reach Europe. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 59 migrants have died on the Eastern Mediterranean route so far this year, and officials are expecting the overall number in 2019 to exceed the two previous years.
The Turkish coastguard reported an overall increase in the number of crossing attempts, though the number is still far lower than the peak in 2015. Over 60 percent of those attempting to cross the Aegean Sea in 2019 have been Afghans and Syrians, according to IOM.
The Turkish coastguard has attempted to curb the numbers of crossings, intercepting 42,447 irregular migrants between January and October 2019, They have also arrested at least 62 people smugglers.
Irregular migration continues to be a challenge to the European Union as Turkey has become a hub for migrants from Asia and Africa attempting to reach Europe. A 2016 deal between Turkey and the EU has attempted to limit migrant arrivals in Europe by increasing patrols and cracking down on people smugglers.
Despite these efforts, more than 36,000 migrants have crossed into Greece from Turkey in 2019. Greece is currently hosting over 31,000 migrants in severely overcrowded camps on their islands in the Aegean Sea.
Photo credit: deepspace / Shutterstock.com
Photo caption: AEGEAN SEA, TURKEY – OCTOBER 18, 2019: Turkish coast guard caught immigrants. Refugees and Migrants aboard dinghies reach the Greek Island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey.