Refugees traveling to Greece via Aegean double in Sept.

90 pct rise in August in the number of refugees trying to make perilous journey across the Aegean

Refugees traveling to Greece via Aegean double in Sept.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The number of refugees caught trying to reach Greek islands from Turkey via the Aegean Sea doubled in September compared to August, according to Turkish Coast Guard data.

Trying to make the perilous journey by sea, 3,300 refugees were held by the Turkish Coast Guard in September, the peak of the last six months, while 1,670 were held in August.

 Migration to Europe via sea routes dropped by 90 percent after Turkey and EU signed a refugee deal in March aiming to break human-smuggling gangs, which have been trafficking refugees and migrants across the Aegean to nearby Greek islands.

According to the data, out of the 27,028 refugees intercepted by Turkey so far this year, 5,506 were held in January, 8,747 in February, 8,530 in March, 1,717 in April, 1,109 in May, 538 in June, and 881 in July.

Over the seven-month period after the refugee deal in March, seven refugees were killed due to drowning or hypothermia, authorities said.

As for migrant casualties at sea, on Sept. 29, five people were killed in the southwestern coastal province of Mugla, while a month earlier, on Aug. 21, one refugee was killed in the Cesme district of the Aegean Izmir province, after a refugee boat capsized.

Turkish Coast Guard data shows that 69 refugees lost their lives in 2014, 279 in 2015, and 174 so far in 2016, mainly through the use of unsafe vessels such as plastic boats.

Over the past year, thousands of people have made short but dangerous attempts to cross the Aegean in a bid to reach Greece, before going on to northern and Western Europe.

The EU-Turkey agreement reached on March 20 allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that more than 3,000 refugees had reached Greek islands in August.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Eylül 2016, 14:07