Ferries bring 4 200 refugees to mainland Greece

2015-09-02 13:40
Migrants disembark from a ferry at the port of Piraeus in Athens. (Angelos Tzortzinis, AFP)

Migrants disembark from a ferry at the port of Piraeus in Athens. (Angelos Tzortzinis, AFP)

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Athens - Thousands of refugees arrived in mainland Greece from the eastern Aegean islands as a Frontex vessel rescued nearly 800 people off the Italian coast and hundreds of men, women and children were waiting at a Budapest station to board trains to Western Europe.

A Greek coast guard officer told dpa on Wednesday that 4 200 refugees disembarked at the main Piraeus port near Athens from ferries that shuttled them from the island of Lesbos in the eastern Aegean.

One boat brought 1 700 refugees on Tuesday night and another brought 2 500 people from Lesbos, which is overwhelmed by the large numbers arriving from Turkey.

International aid workers on the island say 80% of the refugees are from Syria.

Both ferries were dedicated to the transport of refugees crowding the islands near the Turkish coast. A third vessel is expected to be added to the fleet, sources said in Athens.

Turkish news agency DHA reported that at least 11 Syrian refugees, including three children, drowned when two boats sank near the Greek island of Kos in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Five people were reportedly missing. The boats, usually overcrowded and rickety rubber vessels, had left from Bodrum in Turkey.

Many of the refugees land in Lesbos, while hundreds are waiting to move to the Greek mainland from Leros, Kos, Kalymnos, Samos and Agathonisi.

Once on the mainland, a majority journeys north, aiming to cross Macedonia and Serbia and enter the European Union in Hungary, with most hoping to seek asylum in Germany.

The European border patrol agency, Frontex, said on Twitter that one of its vessels deployed on the Triton mission in the Mediterranean was headed to Sardinia, Italy, carrying 781 rescued migrants and four bodies.

Read more on:    greece  |  security  |  migrants

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