EU refugee crisis deepens

A Turkish coast guard carries the body of a young refugee as it lies on the shore in Turkey’s coastal town of Bodrum on Tuesday. The toddler drowned in a failedattempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos.   | Photo Credit: STRINGER/TURKEY

At least 12 Syrian migrants trying to reach Greece drowned on Wednesday when two boats sank in Turkish waters, the Turkish coast guard and media said, as an image of a toddler’s lifeless body washed ashore sparked horrified reactions on social media.

The Turkish coast guard said in a statement that two boats had sunk after separately setting off from Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula for the Greek Aegean island of Kos early on Wednesday.

The corpses of 12 migrants, including five children and one woman, were found, and 15 people were rescued, with some surviving after reaching the shore in life jackets. In the first incident, a small boat overloaded with 17 people sank in international waters after leaving Bodrum, the private Dogan news agency said. Eight of the migrants including two children drowned, seven were rescued by the coast guard and two others were reported missing.

The agency published an image of a corpse of a little boy wearing a red T-shirt lying face-down on the beach near Bodrum, one of Turkey’s prime tourist resorts.

The hashtag “#KiyiyaVuranInsanlik” (“Humanity washed ashore”) made it to Twitter’s top world trending topics after the image was widely shared.

Train stations swamped

Hundreds of migrants poured overnight onto the high-speed railway linking Paris with London near the French port of Calais, stranding thousands of passengers in darkness for hours aboard Eurostar trains.

At the EU’s opposite end, another angry crowd camped outside a Budapest train station demanding to board trains for Germany, as Europe’s asylum system crumbled. Hundreds took to the tracks around France’s Calais-Frethun station, the latest target for those trying to reach Britain, which many regard as a better place to live than countries on the continent.

Rail operator SNCF was forced to halt services near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. Three Eurostar trains were blocked overnight and eventually continued to London early on Wednesday, while two returned to their departure stations. A helicopter with a searchlight circled as guards walked the tracks.

With the power out, passengers sat in stifling darkness for nearly four hours. Eurostar later pulled the train back to Calais, where passengers disembarked for fresh air and bottled water.

About 3,000 to 4,000 migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa camp near Calais, dodging police as they try to board trains and trucks heading to Britain through the tunnel or on ferries. — Agencies

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 6:12:16 PM |

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