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Bodies of Kurdish migrants recovered from Greek waters
by Layal Shakir for Rudaw.net
10-01-2022 - ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The bodies of several Kurds who tragically drowned in Greek waters while attempting to cross into western Europe last month have been recovered, a member of a foundation working with refugees and displaced persons told Rudaw from Athens on Thursday.
Fifteen bodies have been retrieved, the representative of Summit (Lutka) Foundation for Refugees and Displaced Affairs for Greece, Hussein Hama Saleh, said following the sinking of at least three separate migrants’ boats in the Aegean Sea last month, according to AP. 
Based on the site they were found at, four of the dead are thought to be from the boat that capsized on December 22, Saleh noted.

The boat “with over 30 Kurdish migrants capsized,” he said. “Only 13 of them survived, seven of whom were Kurds and had a child with them.”

The four bodies are currently being investigated for identification on an island off the Greek coast. At least 30 people, including Kurds, have died in the waters separating Turkey and Greece between December 22 and 25. The details of the incidents and the total number of migrants the boats carried remain unclear.

Speaking to Rudaw from a hospital in Athens, Saleh noted that another 11 bodies were found from the boat that capsized on December 23.

“Six of the bodies have been identified and their families are with them. We are trying to send them back to the Kurdistan Region. The six identified people are from southern Kurdistan [Kurdistan Region],” he said.

One of the survivors of the December 23 incident previously told Rudaw that 103 people were on the boat, confirming the death of at least 11.

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for refugees and migrants. However, the flow tapered off following the arrival of nearly one million people, including Syrian Kurds, in Europe after crossing to Greek islands close to Turkey in 2015.

Kurdish migrants have suffered a catastrophic fate this year. The bodies of 16 migrants, who drowned in the deadliest migrant disaster in the English Channel, were returned to the Kurdistan Region in late December.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) described the incident in the Channel as the "worst disaster on record."
Thousands of other Kurds have traveled to Belarus in recent months with the help of Kurdish smugglers, hoping to reach western Europe in a search for jobs and opportunities they feel they cannot access at home where unemployment is high and political tensions, corruption, and instability leave them with little hope for their future.
The Kurdistan Region, often called a safe haven within Iraq, is facing crises of its own - high unemployment, corruption, political instability, and an economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has acknowledged the existence of systemic problems and financial hardships but says it is working to address these issues.
//www.rudaw.net/english/world/07012022

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