Cyprus Mail

At least three dead, scores rescued off Greek islands as arrivals rise (Updated)

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Three people drowned, at least six were missing and scores of others were rescued in three separate incidents of migrants trying to reach Greece across the Aegean Sea early Friday.

Greek authorities recovered the body of a woman and searched for more people missing after a wooden boat carrying migrants sank off Kalymnos island, close to the Turkish coast.

Fifteen people, 10 men, four women and a child, were rescued, and Greek coastguard vessels were searching for another six to eight people missing, a Greek coastguard official said.

The Turkish coastguard said it recovered another two bodies on its side of the maritime border, and that the boat was carrying 27 people. Rescue operations in Turkish waters were ongoing, it said.

The departure point of the boat and the nationality of those on board was not immediately clear.

Separately, Greece rescued 127 migrants and refugees off Chios island on board two boats in distress earlier on Friday, the coastguard said.

Arrivals of refugees and migrants to Greece, which shares a long sea border with Turkey, have increased in recent months, but not on the scale of mass arrivals in 2015.

Nearly 148,100 refugees and migrants have crossed to Greece from Turkey this year – a fraction of the nearly 1 million arrivals in 2015 – but arrivals have increased in recent months.

An average 214 people arrived daily in September, compared with 156 in August and 87 in July, Greece’s migration minister, Yannis Mouzalas, said on Wednesday.

About 60,000 refugees and migrants, mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, have been stranded in Greece after border closures in the Balkans halted the onward journey many planned to take to central and western Europe.

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