Source: AUN News
The UNHCR office in Greece tweeted, “Unfortunate news from the Aegean: Dozens of people are missing after a boat sank off the island of Rhodes this morning (Wednesday).”
The ship sank at daybreak yesterday after setting sail from southern Turkey for Italy, according to news reports.
According to UNHCR, a significant search and rescue operation is in progress.
Twenty-nine persons, all men, were reportedly saved from the waters between Rhodes and Crete during an air and sea rescue operation, according to Greek Coast Guard reports.
The media also quoted Greek authorities stating that the people saved were from Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The wrecked boat had set sail on the southern coast of neighbouring Turkey, in Antalya.
News outlets quoted a Greek Coast Guard press officer saying that those saved confirmed there were 80 passengers on board when the journey began; therefore, up to 50 individuals may still be missing.
UNHCR verified the number of missing people.
According to UNHCR, over 60 people have passed away in the eastern Mediterranean since the year’s beginning.
Many migrants and refugees who embark on improvised boats to reach Europe perish during the treacherous Aegean Sea crossings between the Greek islands and Turkish shores.
According to data from the International Organization for Migration, one hundred eleven people will pass away in the eastern Mediterranean by the end of 2021. Sixty-four people have died there since January (IOM).
According to the IOM, eight individuals perished in the most recent shipwreck in the Aegean Sea, which occurred off the island of Mykonos on June 19.
Increasingly dangerous crossing
While fewer refugees and migrants are travelling across the Mediterranean to reach Europe than in 2015, the crossings are becoming more and more dangerous.
The UN recorded 3,231 migrant and refugee deaths or disappearances in the Mediterranean Sea last year and 945 this year.
At the same time, 70,325 migrants succeeded in travelling to Europe, 65,548 of which were reported to have crossed the Mediterranean, according to UNHCR.
Since the year’s commencement, Italy has welcomed the most immigrants with 43,740, followed by Spain with almost 17,000, Greece with 7,261, and Cyprus with 2,268.
There were 123,300 arrivals in 2018 and 95,800 in 2020. Before this, 141,500 people travelled across the Mediterranean in 2018 and 123,700 in 2019.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network