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13 migrants drown in latest Aegean Sea sinking

By AFP | December 23rd 2015 at 15:21:05 GMT +0300

At least 13 people, including seven children, drowned when their overloaded boat capsized in the Aegean, police said Wednesday, the latest tragedy involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

The small boat went down off the Greek island of Farmakonisi overnight, sending 29 people into the water, an official with the Greek port police told AFP.

Fifteen were rescued and taken to hospital on the nearby island of Leros, and a search is under way for one missing person.

"The weather was not particularly bad but the boat was overloaded as is often the case," the police official said.

Some 700 people, many of them children, have lost their lives trying to cross the Aegean to Greece this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), many of them refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and elsewhere.

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Nearly 3,000 others have died on the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Italy.

On Tuesday, the UN refugee agency and the IOM said more than one million migrants and refugees reached Europe this year, most of them by sea, more than four times the figure for 2014.

The vast majority of people -- over 800,000 -- landed in Greece, according to the figures.

On Tuesday, 11 migrants including three children drowned off the coast of Turkey when their boat sank.

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