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Refugee crisis worsens in Lesbos as winter looms


'We hope we have finished the biggest step.' A group of Palestinians from Yarmouk camp, arrived on the Greek island Lesbos. by Hazel Healy

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 is 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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