Wednesday, October 5

A five-year-old girl dies after days stranded with 38 refugees on an islet between Turkey and Greece

A five-year-old refugee girl has died on an islet located in the Evros River, after being stranded for days with 38 migrants at this point, located between the border of Greece and Turkey, according to the Greek newspaper Efsyn and confirmed this Tuesday the Greek Migration Minister, Notis Mitarakis, through the testimonies of the survivors. The youngest, named Maria, suffered a scorpion sting.

The 38 rescued refugees, of Syrian and Palestinian nationality, remained since the beginning of August without water or medical attention on the islet until Monday they could be located on the Greek bank of the Evros river by the Greek authorities, according to the Police. These are 22 men, 9 women and seven minors.

Amid criticism of the Government of Athens for not acting, the Greek Migration Minister on Tuesday blamed Turkey for the situation suffered by the group of migrants who ended up stranded for days in the Evros River, and were rescued on Monday by the police. Helena, Mitarakis accused Turkey, from the reception center where the 35 Syrians and 3 rescued Palestinians were transferred today, of “pushing” the migrants towards an islet in the Evros River, the natural border between the two countries, and “pressuring them with the threat of violence to make them go to Greece”.

The minister further pointed out that before that the Turkish authorities had arrested these migrants inside Turkey, and yet they did not give them the right to apply for international protection, but chose to act in this way. “We will go to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent so that his body can be found on the Turkish islet and buried with dignity by his family,” the minister said. According to Mitarakis, the migrants declared to the authorities that they entered Greek territory on Sunday, and after hiding for a day they made their location known through a mobile phone, and it was then that the Police mobilized and finally located them.

However, the same migrants report to Efsyn that on July 26 they were forcibly returned to Turkey by the Greek authorities, and it was after this that the Turkish authorities forced them to once again try to cross the border into Greece, threatening them with deport them to Syria.

The survivors are in good health, according to Mitarakis, and only one pregnant woman had to be preventively transferred to a hospital. Although the migrants were stranded on the islet for days, neither the Greek nor the Turkish authorities intervened until Monday, which provoked the reaction of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who, on Saturday, through a message on his official Twitter account, showed his “concern” about the refugees, and stressed that immediate action is essential.

Mitarakis then responded to the UNHCR and pointed out that the Greek government is also “extremely concerned” but that the islet where the migrants are is not in Greek territory, but in Turkish territory.

On Sunday afternoon, the minister stressed that the police carried out search operations “without finding any human presence on the islet.”

However, just a few hours later the migrants were located on the Greek bank of the river by the Hellenic authorities, where they were able to arrive using a boat, according to the Police.

The case has sparked numerous criticisms of the government from the main opposition party in Greece, the leftist Syriza, which wonders in a statement how exactly the “non-existent” migrants in the area have been found by the Greek authorities until Sunday.

Numerous such episodes have been repeated in the Evros River in recent months and the European Court of Human Rights regularly issues precautionary orders obliging Greece to provide migrants with water, food, medical care and immediate access to the asylum process. stranded on the islets. However, it is the first time that Mitarakis has traveled to the area to find out about his situation.