Over 30 migrants dead after refugee boat capsizes off coast of Turkey

Feb 1, 2016 | International, News

Courtesy Thomson Reuters Bodies of Syrian refugees lay on Turkish coast.

(Courtesy Thomson Reuters)
Bodies of Syrian refugees lay on Turkish coast.

Cheyenne-Raine Lynch

Mothers and children were among the estimated 37 people who drowned when a boat carrying Syrian, Afghan and Myanmar refugees capsized off the coast of Turkey on Saturday.

The boat was trying to make the short journey to the Greek island of Lesbos when it hit rocks off of the Turkish shore.

Locals were only able to help those who could swim to shore.

“These are extremely grievous times for the people of Syria who have been undertaking dangerous sea journeys from Turkey to Greece to seek asylum in northern Europe,” said Penny Fancy of International Development and Relief Foundation in Toronto.

The crisis received international attention in September of last year when the image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body, found laying near Bodrun, Turkey made headlines.

However, this has been happening for the last four years.

“This is not the first and not the last time,” said Majed El Shafie, founder and president of One Free World. “The world needs to wake up, this is not happening once but often.”

Neil MacCarthy, Director of Public Relations and Communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto says that there is concern anytime we see refugees fleeing their homeland and risking their lives through unsafe methods, desperate for freedom.

“If they stay in Syria they are dead, if they stay in Iraq they are dead,” says Shafie.

Lisa Randall, acting executive director of Culture Link says that the Canadian government is doing the best they can with the refugee crisis.

The thousands of refugees that have already landed in Canada are currently living in hotels still awaiting permanent residence.

According to the International Organization for Migration, approximately 52,000 migrants arrived in Greece by sea between January 1 and 27 of this year.

About 240 migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in January alone.

Turkey is currently home to 2.5 million Syrian refugees.