Refugee Tragedy

20 December 2012

Lesvos lies close to the coast of Turkey and continues to be a route to “freedom” in the EU used by refugees from conflict, persecution and poverty. The waters between Lesvos and Turkey are not always as warm and inviting as they are during the holiday season.

On Friday 14 December a man was pulled from the water 1.3 nautical miles off the northeast coast of Lesvos. He reported that he had been one of 28 Afghan refugees on board a boat that had left the Turkish coast in the early hours of that morning attempting to cross to Lesvos. Sea conditions had caused the boat to sink. He reported that he had been in the water for 5 hours. He was initially reported as 20 years old this was later changed to 16.

A search and rescue mission was launched by the Hellenic Coast Guard assisted by private boats and teams on land. There was much confusion over the number of people involved, by Sunday it had been agreed that in addition to the refugees, there were 2 Turkish men.

Over the next 3 days, 21 bodies of men were recovered from the sea and the shore near Thermi. Seven people remain unaccounted for.

Despite this tragedy, refugees continue to attempt the crossing. On 19 December a group of 20 children, 8 women and 20 men were arrested in Mytilene for illegally entering Greece.

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About Robin

We started visiting Lesvos such a long time ago we can't remember when. We simply fell in love with the island in general and Molyvos in particular. In 2005 we bought some land and tried to manage the building of our house from the UK. Holidays became site visits and our house was [mostly] completed in 2007. In 2009 we sold up in the UK and moved to Molyvos. This is now our home and we count ourselves amongst the luckiest of the lucky. I am a member of the Molyvos Tourist Association, providing photographs for their brochures and general publicity. Most of my time is spent on activities to encourage tourism or taking photographs of one of the most beautiful places on earth. I also produce calendars and sell them on-line through Lesvos Calendars. Please visit and have a look. You can also see more of my photographs on my  Robin Sanders Photography website.

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