Refugees drown off Greek island as boat capsizes

Refugees drown off Greek island as boat capsizes

15 children are among at least 34 migrants who have died after their wooden boat capsized in the Aegean Sea.

They were making the crossing from Turkey to Greece during windy weather.

68 others have been rescued, while 30 more managed to swim to safety to the island of Farmakonissi, north of Kos.

The victims’ nationalities have not been determined. A coast guard spokeswoman said one child was among the dead.

The latest tragedy came as Germany’s interior minister warned refugees will not get to choose what country they go to under a proposed European Union quota system to share the burden of new arrivals

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the Tagesspiegel daily that if refugees get protection in Europe they must accept being distributed around the EU.

He said: “There can be no free choice of residence for refugees. That doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.”

In Munich, the main point of entry for migrants to Germany, police said a total of 12,200 migrants arrived on Saturday and the flow is continuing into the city.

Federal police spokesman Simon Hegewald said more than 700 people fleeing their homelands arrived at the city’s main station on Sunday morning.

Officials in Munich were putting up tents but say their capacity to house the newcomers arriving from Hungary via Austria is being stretched to the limit. They are calling for more help from other places in Germany.

Germany’s vice chancellor is also calling for an aid package to help feed, house and educate refugees in camps in countries neighbouring Syria – an effort to combat the problems that are causing them to flee to Europe.

The UN’s World Food Program has had to cut food distributions at the camps because of funding shortages.

Sigmar Gabriel told German daily Tagesspiegel that Germany and Europe should put up €1.5bn in immediate aid for food, accommodation “and above all schools” in the biggest refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. He says the Gulf Arab countries and the United States should each contribute the same amount.

Mr Gabriel said “as long as hardships grow in the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, people will set off for Europe. We must address this, and quickly”.

In Hungary, the flow of migrants hit another record as Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government prepares an unprecedented border clampdown.

Police said 4,330 migrants were detained on Saturday, over 700 more than the previous one-day mark. Hungary is rushing to complete a fence on its border with Serbia and starting on Tuesday, new rules take effect criminalising illegal border crossings and speeding up decisions about asylum requests.

Hungarian authorities hope the 4m (13-ft) high fence, more police at the border and tighter migration rules should deter migrants from trying to enter the country as they strive to reach Germany or other destinations in Western Europe.

At the least, authorities hope it will bring order to their mandatory registration system – which has crumbled as the number of migrants has grown.

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