Rescued migrants disembark a Greek coast guard vessel at the port of Mytilene, following a shipwreck off the island of Lesbos, on Monday.—Reuters
Rescued migrants disembark a Greek coast guard vessel at the port of Mytilene, following a shipwreck off the island of Lesbos, on Monday.—Reuters

ATHENS: Five people including an 11-month girl died on Monday and 54 people were rescued when two migrant boats sank off Greece, officials said.

The first capsize took place around 3:00am (0000 GMT) off the island of Samos near the Turkish border. The coastguard rescued 37 people, including a woman who had died, government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis and the coastguard said.

About four hours later, another boat sank near the Greek island of Lesbos.

Four migrants died, including an eight-year-old boy and three girls, aged 11 months, eight years and 14 years, Marinakis said.

Separately, a woman and a child were found unconscious off the island of Samos overnight and the woman later died despite efforts to save her, Marinakis said.

Public broadcaster ERT said 1,100 people had arrived in Greece in August against 789 in July and 608 in June, citing government figures.

It said 10,790 migrants and arrived in Greece in the first eight months of this year against 5,216 in the previous corresponding period.

In June, an overcrowded fishing trawler carrying up to 750 people who had been picked up in Libya sank off Greece.

Around 100 of them were saved, but it is thought that some 600 drowned, according to Greek figures.

Thousands of migrants, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have entered Greece in recent years from the sea and land borders with Turkiye.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2023

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