AS reports came in late last night (TUES) of another refugee disaster off the coast of Didim, parts of our Turkish and foreign communities responded admirably to donate clothing and blankets.
Baby dies, Didim responds
Social media sent out appeals for clothing after it emerged that a group of mainly Syrians had been rescued after their boat capsized around 11pm off the Tekağaç coastline, out beyond Mavisehir.
A total of 18 refugees were rescued, with three adults and six children, aged between six and 12, were brought to Didim State Hospital, before they were transferred out to Soke and Aydin Hospitals for treatment.
Unfortunately, it emerged that a six-month-old child, named Mehmet Kerem, had died – suspected from hypothermia.
12 dead on Greek island
A bigger disaster occurred later at about 4am this morning (WED) when a total of 12 refugees, including seven children, died after two separate boats – thought to have also left Didim – capsized off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
One of the two boats capsized off the Greek island of Farmakonisi. Dogan News Agency reported 12 of the 50 migrants, including six children, four men and two women, were later found dead.
The Greek coast guard rescued 26 migrants from the capsized boat, while 13 others are still missing.
A Greek army helicopter was pressed into service with a vessel from the European Union’s border agency Frontex to aid the search, according to Agence France-Presse. Witnesses said the boat had sunk despite a calm sea and light winds.
Six children perish
Also on Dec. 8, at least six children died when a boat carrying Afghan migrants sank in the Aegean en route to Greece, while another vessel sank elsewhere Aegean, killing another child.
The Turkish coast guard recovered the bodies of the children, including a baby, and were still looking for two other migrants reported missing, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The dead body of a 5-year-old girl washed up on a beach in İzmir, while six other refugees were also found dead after an inflatable boat capsized off İzmir’s Çeşme district. The body of 5-year-old girl Sajida Ali washed up on the Pırlanta Beach in Çeşme on Dec. 7. Ali’s body was taken to the İzmir Forensic Institute for medical examination.
Her death comes few months after images of the lifeless body of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi sent shockwaves throughout the world after washing ashore in the Turkish resort town of Bodrum in early September.
In yet another incident, six Afghan migrants drowned in the Aegean Sea after an inflatable migrant boat capsized off Çeşme early on Dec. 8. The Turkish coast guard rescued eight other migrants, all wearing life jackets, while the bodies of the six were taken to the İzmir Forensic Institute, Doğan News Agency reported.
The number of migrants saved after making failed attempts to cross via the sea from Turkey to Europe has increased by over 500 percent in 2015 compared to last year.
In 2014, the number of migrants rescued by Turkey’s Coast Guard and local institutions was 14,961, in 574 separate incidents, according to Prime Ministry figures. So far this year, the number is 79,489 migrants in 2,133 incidents.