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Boat capsize leaves 12 people dead in the area of Lefkada Island, Greece

15 November 2013

© UNHCR/F.Noy

This morning a boat carrying 31 people, reportedly Syrian and Palestinians, capsized between the Ionian island of Lefkada and the western coasts of mainland Greece, leading to the death of 12 people among them four small children. These people were reportedly attempting to make the journey to Italy.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) expresses deep sorrow and concern for the ongoing loss of life at sea.  “Unfortunately this is the latest in a series of tragedies that have occurred in relation to asylum seekers trying to reach safety during their initial flight and onward journey,” said Laurens Jolles, Regional Representative for Southern Europe.  “It shows how desperate people will take huge risks to reach their destination even within Europe” concluded Jolles.

Three more people are still missing while fifteen have been rescued so far and have been transferred to hospitals on Lefkada island and the mainland city of Preveza. A search and rescue operation for other survivors is currently ongoing by the Greek authorities.

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