Regional Vice Governor of the Dodecanese Haralambos Kokkinos is calling on the Greek government, Turkey and the EU, to step in and step up their efforts towards putting a stop to the hundreds of deaths at sea due to the influx of refugees to Greek shores.
At least 113 migrants have lost their lives in the Aegean this month, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with at least 44 people, including 20 children, dying when their boats sank on their way from Turkey to Greece, on Friday, January 22.
“Today’s tragic events confirm the major responsibilities of Turkey, which as a country accepting illegal migrants has failed to observe the international agreements and to address the issue,” Mr Kokkinos told the press on Friday.
Turkey has in 2015 and this year served as a stepping stone for some 2.2 million refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria. According to the IOM, approximately 37,000 have reached Greece by sea this year.
“Greece’s borders, which are also the frontiers of the European Union, are still not being sufficiently guarded. The Greek government is merely identifying the problem, proceeding at a snail’s pace in terms of positive actions… Unfortunately, the same applies to the EU. Their promises have not materialized yet,” Mr Kokkinos said, adding that local communities, volunteers, local government, the Coast Guard, the Greek army and police, as well as island health professionals have been left to their own devices to deal with the problem.