INTERNATIONAL

EU struggles to cope with human tide

Refugees, whose boat stalled at sea while crossing from Turkey to Greece, swim to the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday.— Photo: AP

Refugees, whose boat stalled at sea while crossing from Turkey to Greece, swim to the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday.— Photo: AP  

Crowded aboard buses and trains, thousands more migrants flooded into Austria on Sunday from countries unable or unwilling to cope with a desperate human tide escaping war and poverty for a better life in western Europe.

And new tragedy struck for those fleeing by sea when at least 13 migrants, including six children, died off the coast of Turkey after the inflatable dinghy carrying them to Greece collided with a ferry, Turkish media reported.

The Greek coast guard fanned out in the choppy waters of the Aegean Sea searching for another 24 people missing after their boat sank off the island of Lesbos.

As several thousand more migrants arrived on Sunday in Austria from Hungary via Croatia, Budapest abruptly decided to reopen a border crossing with Serbia whose closure on Monday had sparked a surge of migrants into Croatia.

EU interior ministers are to meet again on Tuesday, followed by an emergency summit on Wednesday.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said the bloc was earmarking aid of “up to one billion euros” ($1.13 billion) to encourage Syrian refugees in Turkey to stay there. Of the more than four million Syrians who have fled their country, nearly half have sought shelter in Turkey. More than a million are now living in Lebanon and at least 600,000 in Jordan.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said refugee admissions would be raised to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. — AFP

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