Greek ship ferries hundreds more migrants to mainland

admin   •   September 2, 2015   •   2955

Refugees and migrants disembark from the passenger ship “Tera Jet”, following their trip from the island of Lesbos to the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece September 1, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A ship bringing about 1,800 migrants and refugees from an eastern Greek island to the port of Piraeus arrived on Tuesday night, the Greek coastguard said.

Greece has seen a spike in the number of refugees and migrants arriving on the islands by rubber dinghies via nearby Turkey this summer, with aid agencies estimating about 2,000 crossing over daily last month.

After a hiatus of a few days last week, Greek authorities on Saturday resumed carrying the refugees – mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – to the mainland by ship from the islands of Kos, Lesbos, Samos, Symi and Agathonissi.

Many then carry on their journeys across mainland Europe.

“You have to help us,” said 27-year-old Isham, a Syrian teacher who left his wife and two children behind in Turkey.

“We are human,” he said, appealing to governments not to block the refugees’ attempts to travel through Europe in search of a better life.

A coastguard official said the ship, the Tera Jet, carrying 1,749 migrants from Lesbos docked in Piraeus, adding that another ship with 2,459 migrants was expected to arrive from the island in the early hours on Wednesday.

An average of 1,700 migrants crossed into Greece daily in July, with the number topping 2,000 a day in August.

Cash-strapped Greece has said it lacked the infrastructure to cope with influx.

President Prokopis Pavlopoulos told French counterpart Francois Hollande by telephone that migration should be addressed at a top European level, according to a statement by Pavlopoulos’ office.

Greece’s caretaker Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou will chair a ministerial meeting on migration on Wednesday. Thanou took over last week after former Greek premier Alexis Tsipras, who heads the leftist Syriza party, resigned last month to pave the way for a snap election on Sept. 20.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Georgia Kalovyrna; Editing by Matthias Williams and Alison Williams)

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Smoke blankets Athens from wildfire on Evia island

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019

A large wildfire on Greece’s Evia island on Tuesday (August 13) fanned by strong winds blanketed the capital Athens some 110 kilometers (70 miles) away.

The fire, which generated thick smoke, destroyed tracts of forest on Evia, firefighters said, as authorities prepared to evacuate two villages potentially in the path of the flames.

Wildfires raged uncontrolled in at least four other Greek regions, and the fire brigade said it had been called to put out 182 fires in the last three days.

More than 120 firemen, aided by helicopters and other aircraft, battled the blaze on Evia, the country’s second-largest island, where a monastery had already been evacuated.

No fatalities had been reported, and the winds were expected to subside in the evening, a fire brigade official said.

Greece often faces wildfires during its dry summer months, and authorities have warned of the high risk of blazes this week.

Last year a wildfire killed 100 people in the seaside town of Mati near Athens, and in 2007 devastating fires killed 65, scorched thousands of hectares of forest and farmland and threatened archaeological sites. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vasilis Stogiannis, Phoebe Fronista)

Fire, torrential rain batter Greece, leave 7 dead

Robie de Guzman   •   July 12, 2019

Aircraft putting out fire, ruined stuff, damaged cars & scattered belongings | Courtesy : Reuters

At least five fires have southern Greece alight on Wednesday afternoon due to high temperatures and gale force winds, while at the same time a strong storm hit northern Greece leaving seven people dead, dozens injured and a fisherman missing, as well as losses or damages to properties.

On Wednesday afternoon, at least five fires triggered either by high temperatures or gale force winds swept across the Peloponnese Peninsula, Attica Peninsula, Lamia Bay, and Evia Peninsula.

The disasters were finally controlled before night fell due to the joint efforts of firefighters on the ground and planes in the air.

However, in northern Greece, another extreme weather phenomenon took the baton and threatened people in the north.

The extreme weather caused seven people, six of whom confirmed as tourists from Russia, Czech and Romania on vacation in the country, dead and the unidentified victim is said likely to be a local fisherman. The storm darkened the doorstep of the Chalkidiki Peninsula in northern Greece, and the country’s second largest city Thessaloniki.

“The grill and the iron plate for the barbecue were blown off there. The pavilion there also fell down. The cars were crushed,” said Despoina, a resident in Chalkidiki.

The damages brought by the first freak storm in 30 years was huge, though it only lasted half an hour.

“We have been living here for 25 years, but we have never seen this,” said Despoina.

The power supply in the northern coastal areas and trains running between Thesalloniki and Alexandroupoli, another coastal city in the north, were cut off.

The 22 injured people have been sent to a local hospital, with nine of them suffering fractures to varying degrees. (REUTERS)

At least two dead, 25 missing as migrant boat capsizes off Libya

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

At least two migrants died and around 25 others were missing after their inflatable boat capsized off the western Libyan coast, the coastguard said on Sunday (June 2).

A total of 73 migrants were picked up by a coastguard patrol about 14 miles off Qarabulli town, some 49 km (30.5 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, including 40 men, 25 women and eight children from Sudan, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The bodies of a woman and a child were recovered.

“A fisherman called in the incident of a rubber dinghy with migrants having capsized, they had rescued them, and were on their way to the port,” said Eissa, spokesperson for Garabulli Coastguard.

Earlier, the coastguard spokesman said there were eight missing people but that number was later upgraded to 25.

Libya’s western coast has become a main departure point for migrants as smugglers exploit the county’s chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. (REUTERS)

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