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Seven drown after refugee boat capsizes off Greece

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Refugees helped by rescuers arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, on September 16, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Two women and five children drowned when a boat carrying migrants and refugees from Turkey capsized near Greece's Chios Island, the coastguard says.

The Friday incident is among the deadliest of its kind in Greek waters this year and comes as Greece deals with a resurgence in refugee and migrant flows from neighboring Turkey.

Twelve people were rescued from the sea off Oinousses, a cluster of islets near Chios and about 8 km from the Turkish coast. It was not immediately known if others were missing.

The coastguard did not provide details on the nationalities of the victims or the cause of the accident.

More than 9,000 people arrived in Greece in August, the highest number in the three years since the European Union and Ankara implemented a deal to shut off the Aegean migrant route. More than 8,000 people have arrived so far in September.

Greece's island camps are struggling to deal with the rise in numbers, with all facilities operating at at least twice their capacity. The government has planned a series of measures to curb the influx, including moving asylum-seekers to the mainland, tightening its borders, and speeding up deportations of those who do not qualify for asylum.

(Source: Reuters)

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