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Three people died near Rhodes a day after the tragedy near Lampedusa

20 April 2015 / 19:04:38  GRReporter
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A day after the tragic accident near the Italian island of Lampedusa, in which 700 illegal immigrants lost their lives, the members of the Greek coast guard found the bodies of three people, one man, one woman and one child, in the coastal area of Zephiros near Rhodes where a sailing boat arrived today by which an unknown number of immigrants had been travelling.

The rescue operation is still underway and according to the first reports, there were about 200 immigrants on the boat. The local site rodiaki.gr reports that it had been transporting at least 90 immigrants and hit the rocks about 50 metres away from the shore.

The coast guard sources claim that many immigrants jumped into the sea to swim the distance to the mainland. So far, 83 people have been rescued. In particular, the communication of the port authorities in Rhodes states that 49 foreigners have been delivered to the Police Department of the Dodecanese, 14 are still in the building of the port authorities and another 30 have been taken out from the water and transported to the hospital in Rhodes. The district administration has pledged to transport the rest of the foreigners for them to be rendered medical aid.
 
The publications in the local media state that the rescue operation lasted more than an hour. An air force helicopter and a diver from Rhodes continue to investigate the region of the wreck.

On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed to the European Union to take urgent measures to tackle the "humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean."

Earlier today, it became clear that Brussels would convene a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign and Internal Affairs of the member states. Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk had seriously considered the possibility of convening an emergency summit of the European Council to discuss the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. It was announced a little later that the meeting would take place next Thursday.

It will discuss proposals for urgent action in four areas as follows: the fight against human traffickers, the completion of more rescue operations, providing assistance to countries that are exposed to the most numerous migratory flows and cooperation with the countries of origin and with the countries through which immigrants and refugees pass before reaching Europe.

Donald Tusk warns that "there are no quick fix solutions to the root cause of migration," stressing that the European Union "cannot accept that hundreds of people die" every year while trying to reach Europe. "The situation in the Mediterranean concerns all of Europe. That is why we need to act, and act together now," he said.

European Commission sources indicate to GRReporter that a meeting between representatives of the Greek authorities and the European border control agency Frontex took place last week, in view of the rising number of illegal immigrants who cross the sea border of Greece. "In the case of a request to change the operational activities in the specific geographic region, Frontex and the competent Greek authorities establish exactly what needs to be done and change them in the desired direction, if necessary."

They add that the European Commission closely and continuously monitors the situation on the Greek sea border, which is an external border of the European Union. "As a result of this monitoring, and if necessary, the European Commission will examine whether the situation requires the allocation of additional funds."

Tags: SocietyImmigrandsRhodesWreckVictimsEuropean UnionExtraordinary summitDonald TuskEuropean Commission
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