Greek Authorities Continue Search as Conservative Leader Criticizes Rescue Operation: Tragedy Highlights Challenges Faced by Migrants

EU policy shipwreck

Greek authorities are continuing their search for victims and survivors following the tragic sinking of a trawler carrying potentially 750 migrants. Conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis criticized the rescue operation's critics, urging them to direct their anger towards human traffickers, whom he referred to as "human scum." Mitsotakis, expected to win re-election, also targeted the opposition party Syriza for their handling of migration while in power.

He highlighted the existence of the overcrowded Moria migrant camp, which saw its population surge during the migration crisis of 2015. The camp operated during Syriza's government and burned down in 2020. Mitsotakis defended his own more restrictive policies and pledged to continue them, citing a significant drop in illegal crossings.

The search and rescue operation is being carried out in challenging conditions, including rough seas and deep waters. So far, 104 survivors have been rescued, and 78 bodies have been recovered. However, no additional survivors or bodies have been found since the accident occurred.

In a separate operation, Italian authorities successfully rescued 96 migrants from a sailboat in distress. The rescue was challenging but made possible with the assistance of a Portuguese coast guard vessel and several commercial vessels.

Italian authorities had previously informed Greek counterparts about the presence of a sailboat in the area where the sinking occurred. While it has not been confirmed if it was the same boat, the Greek coast guard monitored the sailboat, which continued its journey until its subsequent rescue off the coast of Italy.

Efforts are ongoing to provide support to the survivors, with some being taken to a migrant reception center outside Athens. The Egyptian embassy in Athens has also shared a list of Egyptian survivors provided by Greek authorities.

The tragedy highlights the ongoing challenges and risks faced by migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the complex task of search and rescue operations in treacherous conditions.

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