A surge in the number of bodies of refugees whose boats capsized as they desperately tried to reach Europe has filled the burial grounds of the Greek island of Lesbos to capacity, the island’s mayor said, adding that over 50 bodies remain unburied.
As RT reports, The island’s morgues, cemeteries and emergency services have been overwhelmed with a record number of bodies of migrants who died trying to cross the Mediterranean in October. According to the latest UN data, over 218,000 people arrived in the EU during the month, beating the total annual number for the whole of 2014.
Some 744,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe in 2015 alone, of which at least 3,300 died while making the journey.
Mayor Spyros Gallons told the Greek media that, while five funerals were held this weekend, 55 bodies remain at the morgue and the island is having a hard time finding burial ground for them.
“Yesterday we held five funerals, but there are still 55 bodies at the morgue,” NBC News quoted Galinos as saying. “Who could have anticipated such a carnage in the Aegean?”
Lesbos, with a population of 86,000, lies in the Aegean Sea near Turkey’s cost. It has served as one of the main destinations for refugees and other migrants trying to escape violence and poverty in Syria and other conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa.
On Monday, the tragic situation was exacerbated, as 11 refugees, most of them children, drowned in the Aegean Sea while trying to reach Lesbos. Moreover, on Sunday another 15 people, including six children, died in the Aegean after their boat capsized off the Greek island of Samos.
Galinos told the media that authorities are working on fast-tracking procedures for creating new burial ground next to the main cemetery.
The situation on the island has also prompted ambulance workers to protest state budget cuts that have downsized the number of emergency vehicles to only three, despite the increasing number of refugees.
As DW.com adds, Lesbos currently has 90,000 residents and 200,000 refugees...
Mytilene is the largest city on the Greek island of Lesbos, in the northeast Aegean Sea not far from Turkey. It is an attractive place with massive docks. From there many large ferries run daily towards Piraeus and Kavala near the Macedonian border.
And that is why there are thousands of refugees here - they want to keep going.
The north coast of Lesbos is an orange streak. Thousands of lifejackets lie on the beach as far as the eye can see, having fulfilled their purpose for the refugees crossing from Turkey. So do the many rubber dinghies that the volunteers pierced right after their arrival so that they couldn't be pushed back onto the sea.
The helpers come from England, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. A few Greeks as well hurry about the beaches. But they limit themselves to "recovering" the valuable scraps of metals from the boats. By sunrise, some are already carrying away the motors of the boats that came in overnight. These are worth a few thousand euro a piece.
The so-called "hotspot" in Moria, a barrack outside of Mytilene, has become a textbook example of the way processing is handled in Greece. By now the Greek police and officials from Frontex - the European Union border agency - have managed to register more than 5,000 refugees a day. However, the registration is not valid across the EU. It is usually full of loopholes; the information provided by refugees is not tested for its truth.
In the end, everyone here receives a registration form that entitles them to travel on from Lesbos. As a matter of fact, the refugees are not allowed to leave Greece, and many will still be ultimately deported. But the authorities on Lesbos cannot do that themselves. Nor do they want to. They just want to sustain a bit of peace and order. And therefore as many refugees as possible must be moved on from the island, as fast as possible.