Mediterranean border crisis: Authorities claim nearly 140 migrants enter Greece in 24 hours

The past 24 hours saw nearly 140 migrants make the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Greece, according to authorities.

One man drowned off the southern island of Crete after reportedly leaving from North Africa for the journey. Many migrants from the Middle East and Africa aim for entry points in Greece, Italy, or Spain when trying to make it to the European Union. Taking off from neighboring Turkey or Libya, they maneuver in unstable boats to reach the Greek shores.

“Greece’s coast guard said 34 men and three boys were rescued on Thursday by a passing merchant vessel some 83 nautical miles (95 miles) south of Crete after issuing a distress signal,” Associated Press reported.

“A coast guard statement Friday said one more man who had been on the boat fell into the sea and drowned, according to other survivors and the ship’s captain. All survivors were taken to Crete. They told authorities they had set off from eastern Libya on Tuesday,” according to AP.

In another incident last week, 51 men, eight women and 19 children were found by authorities in southeastern mainland Greece, on a beach near Monemvassia.

“It was unclear where they had departed from, but the area is on a smuggling route from Turkey to Greece or Italy,” AP noted.

Last Thursday and Friday, another 22 people were picked up in separate incidents by authorities from an islet off the southeastern island of Symi. They had reportedly paid smugglers to ferry them over from Turkey, according to the coast guard.

In just this year so far, nearly 16,000 people have reached Greece – many coming by sea. Over 48,000 arrived in 2023.

United Nations data indicates that the highest number of migrants and refugees in the EU in 2024 have come to Spain, with more than 21,000 arrivals.

Frieda Powers

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