Refugee boat sinks off Greek islands and dozens missing

Greek authorities have launched a search and rescue operation for dozens of refugees who are missing after a boat they were travelling on from Turkey overturned and sank in rough weather.

The vessel capsized overnight on Monday between the islands of Evia and Andros.four survivors were rescued on Monday from that incident.

A coastguard aircraft and patrol boat, two nearby ships and a vessel from the European Union’s border agency Frontex were participating in the search, authorities said.

The incident came after at least 27 people drowned earlier this month in two separate sinkings. In one, 18 people died when a boat that had set sail from Turkey sank off the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, while in the other, a yacht carrying about 100 people sank in a gale, killing at least nine and leaving six missing.The Greek coastguard has said it rescued about 1,500 people in the first eight months of this year, compared with fewer than 600 in 2021.

More than 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers died or went missing last year while trying to reach Europe via Mediterranean and Atlantic sea routes, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

The figure for 2021, a year in which Europe hardened its borders as new refugee crises flared, represented nearly twice the number of lives lost in the previous year.

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