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Winter looms as refugee crisis in Lesbos worsens

New Internationalist co-editor Hazel Healy traveled to Greece for 5 days from 28 October to 1 November. Her report here provides a snapshot into the lives of refugees trying to get to Europe (the bereaved and the survivors), the Greeks who are receiving them, other volunteers trying to help, and the European border regime that created this crisis in the first place.

In the 5 days Hazel spent on Lesbos, more than 60 people drowned trying to reach Europe across the Aegean sea, around half of them children.

Winter weather has not dissuaded refugees from attempting the short but dangerous 10 kilometre journey from Turkey. Instead, they are crossing in record numbers.

High winds and rough seas, combined with an ill-equipped, underfunded rescue effort have left refugee boats extremely vulnerable to capsizing.

Hundreds of people have died trying to reach Europe this year, half of them in October alone. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are calling for search and rescue capacity to be increased urgently, and imploring states to increase safe and legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe.


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