Migration and Struggle in Greece

Death toll reaches 21 in suspected boat capsizing

Posted by clandestina on 12 January 2010

source: zaman newspaper

The discovery of two more bodies early Sunday brought the death toll of suspected refugees who drowned along the Greek-Turkish border to 21, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. The first bodies, believed to be of people who failed in an attempt to cross the Maritsa, or Evros, River into Greece illegally, were discovered last Monday.

It is unclear how large the suspected refugee group was and whether any of them made it across the river safely. Authorities believe the group tried to cross the river in a boat, but died under circumstances that remain unclear.

The area around the Maritsa and the nearby Aegean Sea are popular routes for illegal immigrants trying to access the European Union. Thousands of illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa enter EU-member Greece every year, usually making risky crossings from Turkey in boats that are not seaworthy. Ten people died in October 2009 when a boat carrying Afghan families sank off the eastern Aegean Sea island of Lesvos.

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