17 refugees drown in attempt to reach Kos

Seventeen refugees drowned when their boat sank yesterday off the Turkish coast while headed for the Greek island of Kos, the Anadolu Agency reported.

The boat was carrying 37 people, 20 of whom were rescued, when it sank in the Aegean Sea, Anadolu said, citing local governor Amir Cicek.

The 8m boat had set off from the coastal village of Gumusluk.

The area is part of the larger Bodrum peninsula, a popular tourist destination where this summer the body of drowned toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up, sparking international outrage.

A record 300,000 or more Syrians and other refugees have arrived in Greece, mostly setting off from Turkey’s Aegean coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

17 refugees drown in attempt to reach Kos

While Kos is just 4km from Bodrum at its closest, the journey is perilous, as refugees often cram into rubber dinghies captained by men with little or no seafaring experience.

The coastguard has rescued more than 53,000 refugees, but 274 have died in Turkish waters, deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus has said, without giving a time frame.

Meanwhile, the rising cost of looking after refugees may scupper the budget plans of some European governments, and Brussels should consider exemptions for such spending under its EU deficit rules, Austria’s finance minister said.

”The short-term costs are high but predictable. More critical is the question of the longer-term effects [on the budgets],” Hans Joerg Schelling told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview published yesterday.

17 refugees drown in attempt to reach Kos

He said a lot of refugees would stay in Europe, which meant governments had to build more houses and schools. “I have my doubts that the budgets that are being planned now will be sufficient,” he said.

Some economists argue the increased number of refugees will lead to stronger domestic demand, and therefore higher tax revenue.

Reuters

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