Another tragic incident of death occurred in the Aegean Sea, when migrants attempted to cross the waters from neighbouring Turkey aiming to arrive to the Greek island of Samos. The two boats carrying refugees capsized in the early hours of Monday morning off the coast of the island and were identified by a Finnish patrol boat that operates with the Frontex border guard forces. But when two coast-guard vessels as well as air-force and navy helicopters dispatched 22 people have already lost their lives, among them 4 children and twelve women (one of them was pregnant).
According to Kathimerini, 36 people were rescued and transported to Samos. Three men were hospitalized suffering from hypothermia. A three year old boy was transferred to Athens in critical condition, but it is believed that more refugees are missing, since the survivors indicate that almost 65 people had been carried out in the boats.
As the authorities claim, 23 of the survivors are from Somalia, 9 from Syria and 4 from Eritrea, although 18 were found trapped in the submerged hull of one of the boats which was a modern motor-yacht travelling with a Sierra Leone flag, according to Ethnos newspaper. This tragic incident comes to complete the Farmakonisi disaster, where 12 immigrants (9 women and three children) lost their lives on the 20th of January.
Greece is for many refugees the main gate to Europe. The majority of those who enter the country via the sea, following the effective closing of the border on the Evros river (which resulted in 188 adults and children to losing their lives between August 2012 and March 2014) are escaping from wars and poverty and “often try to slip into the European Union via Greece from the Turkish coast” says Joanna Kakissis for the NPR. Nonetheless, thanks to the regulations of the Dublin II treaty that the country’s PMs have signed (whose abolition is the only hope for obtaining a partial solution), most of the refugees find themselves trapped within the Greek territory.
Thus, the increasing number of immigrants in a country with scare economic resources has caused massive tensions between them and some local citizens. During the past few years, the situation dramatically worsened. Violent attacks occur on a daily basis in Athens and other cities. Migrants in Greece cannot enjoy social welfare housing and other benefits whilst the Greek state under the verge of financial collapse appears incapable to solve alone this large-scale humanitarian crisis (as on September 21st 2010 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees named that the asylum situation in Greece). The increase of tensions resulted for the rise of the neofascist party of Golden Dawn (whose members have participated in organized racist attacks). GD won the 7% of the total votes. Since then its percentage has almost doubled according to offociall statistics and polling behaviour reports.
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