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ATHENS: One woman drowned as 92 migrants reached the Aegean island of Samos, coastguard official said on Sunday, as Greek officials struggled to deal with the rising number of arrivals.

The woman who drowned was part of a group of 51 migrants, said the coastguard. Those travelling with her told coastguard officials she had fallen overboard before they could land their vessel on the island’s rocky shoreline, near the port of Karlovassi.

In a separate incident, a Greek patrol vessel rescued 41 people on a vessel that got into difficulty off the island.

Samos is one of the five Greek islands that sit off the Turkish coast in the Aegean Sea — together with Lesbos, Chios, Leros and Kos — where migrants and refugees arrive daily from Turkey.

The number of arrivals has picked up significantly since the beginning of the year, and the reception camp on Samos which is has a capacity for 650 is currently holding 3,700 people, according to official figures.

Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas recently announced the creation of a new camp on Samos to try to ease the overpopulation problem there.

Migrants at the Moria camp on the nearby island of Lesbos meanwhile regularly protest the poor conditions there.

On Sunday, 500 people were transferred to Piraeus, the large port near Athens, the Greek news agency ANA reported.

The authorities periodically transfer people considered vulnerable from Samos to camps on mainland Greece to keep the migrant numbers down on the island.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2019