During the night of January 22, at least 45 people – 20 children among them – perished in three successive shipwrecks off Farmakonisi and Kalolimnos, in the Aegean Sea. This is the provisional number, as migrants are still missing, according to information from the Greek Coast Guard.
In the first wreck, 48 people managed to reach the Farmakonisi Coast unharmed after their boat became stuck on rocks, according to the Port Police. After the shipwreck, the Coast Guard rescued six children and a woman from the water.
A few hours later, another boat capsized off Kalolimnos Island. Port Police have so far found 37 dead bodies, including 11 children and 17 women. Only 26 people survived the wreck, but according to survivor statements, there were dozens more people on their boat coming from the nearby Turkish Coast.
Finally, the Turkish Coast Guard fished the bodies of three children out of the water following a third shipwreck off Didim, according to a Dogan news agency.
This is one of the deadliest days since the start in 2016, perhaps caused by an influx of people into Europe who are fleeing wars and poverty through the Turkish Coast and Greek Islands, despite winter weather. Snow has appeared in recent days, particularly in Lesbos. Migrants have continued to arrive on the Greek Islands aboard makeshift boats, from the Turkish side to Western Europe, since the beginning of the year.
According to estimates by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 77 people died in these crossings during the period from January 1 to January 18. Since the beginning of the year, IOM has counted 31,000 arrivals on the Greek Islands, 21 times more than in January 2015.
That same week at least 12 migrants, including children, drowned off the Western coast of Turkey after their boat, which was trying to reach the Greek Islands, sank. The Turkish Coast Guards managed to save 28 people.