More than 90 refugees rescued by Greek authorities after two migrant boats sank with unknown casualties

The Greek coastguard has rescued more than 90 refugees after two boats sink during one night

More than 90 refugees have been rescued from the Aegean Sea after two migrant boats sank within hours of each other on October 5. The Greek coastguard confirmed a massive search and rescue operation is underway off the west and east coasts of Greece after the disaster.

In both incidents, dinghies were travelling from Turkey towards Europe carrying refugees. The boats capsized due to weather conditions and overcrowding. In the first incident at least sixteen women and one boy were drowned off the coast of Lesbos. The second boat capsized off the coast of Kythira with at least five casualties and fifteen more feared dead.

Spokesman for the Greek coastguard, Nikos Kokkalas, explained the complexity of the operations saying strong winds “raging relentlessly” were disruptive to rescue work. Kokkalas described survivors as “utterly panicked”.

Greek authorities lamented the loss of life with migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, urging the EU to act and urged Turkey to prevent further departures during current conditions.

Greece and Turkey are currently engaged in a political battle over treatment of refugees, with both countries accusing each other of neglect of human rights obligations.

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