Over 20 die as two refugee boats capsize in Aegean

Athens, Jan 22 (IANS) Over 20 people died on Friday as two boats carrying refugees from Turkey capsized in the Aegean Sea, said the Greek Coast Guard.

At least 21 people were killed, including six children, as they drowned near Kalolimnos and Farmakonissi islands, Xinhua cited Greek officials as saying.

In the first accident off Kalolimnos, the Greek Coast Guard rescued 26 people and recovered 14 bodies. Survivors said there were 50 to 100 people aboard.

In the second tragedy off Farmakonissi, the coast guard recovered the bodies of six children and one woman and rescued 40 survivors. Survivors told the authorities that all passengers were accounted for.

Despite bad weather, people fleeing war-torn regions in the Middle East and Asia have been risking their lives to cross over from Turkey to Greece, in a bid to make their way to other European countries.

Turkish smugglers have reduced boat ticket prices for desperate refugees to 500 euros per person, compared to 2,000 euros in summer, according to the Greek authorities.

More than 800,000 people reached Greek shores in 2015, according to official statistics.

The Greek Coast Guard has rescued about 95,000 people, while more than 200 perished in the Aegean Sea, half of whom were children.

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