Greek and Turkish coast guards rescue migrants in Aegean Sea

Greek and Turkish coast guards rescue migrants in Aegean Sea

Greece's coast guard has rescued 59 migrants from an inflatable dinghy off the island of Kos while a second vessel reported to be in trouble was picked up by Turkish authorities.

A total of 147 people arrived on three Greek islands in the 24 hours between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, including those rescued in rough weather off Kos.

Of the others, 44 reached the small island of Kalymnos and the remaining 44 were picked up by the coast guard from another inflatable dinghy off the island of Lesbos.

Also on Wednesday, Turkey's coast guard rescued passengers on a migrant boat who had called for help citing engine problems, according to Greek authorities.

The boat was found in Turkish waters following an initial search operation on the Greek side between the islands of Samos and Ikaria. The caller said there were about 53 people on board.

Greece's coast guard has rescued more than 300 people since August 8 on nine migrant boats that have run into trouble in the Aegean Sea.

With many islands close to the Turkish coast, Greece is a major entry point for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees hoping for better lives in the European Union.

An EU-Turkish agreement and Balkan border closures have severely reduced the flow of people through the country this year.

Under the deal, new arrivals on Greek islands face being returned to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

The measure has left more than 57,600 people stranded in Greece. More than 10,700 of those are on the country's eastern Aegean islands, many living in crowded camps that have long surpassed capacity, particularly on Chios, Lesbos and Samos.

The aid group Save the Children says those stranded on the islands include about 3,800 children, and has warned that refugee women and children are living in "demoralising and unsafe conditions".

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