Two children, four women and a man drowned after a boat capsized off the Greek island of Lesvos on Tuesday, according to a report from the International Organization for Migration.
The report states that the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 57 people.
The agency said that more than half the passengers on the boat had come from three Sub-Saharan African countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Angola.
A representative from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR said the tragedy serves as a “painful reminder.”
“This tragedy is a painful reminder that people continue to take perilous journeys to reach the Greek Aegean islands,” said Philippe Leclerc. “Redoubled efforts are needed to ensure safe and legal ways to reach Europe, so people stop risking their lives in the hands of ruthless traffickers and smugglers.”
The Eastern Mediterranean route is this year’s busiest sea crossing lane for migrants trying to reach Europe, with 9,660 arrivals in either Greece or Cyprus through June 9. The number marks a slight increase from the approximately 9,352 arrivals reported through June 9 of last year.
Forty one people have died so far this year while attempting the journey.
Featured image / Stratis Balaskas, Athenian-Macedonian News Agency
EPT News Report (in Greek)
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