A woman and a 2-year-old child died overnight Wednesday off the coast of the island of Lesbos, in eastern Greece, after the boat they were traveling in capsized. The deaths were two of the latest in the dangerous sea crossings that hundreds of thousands of refugees have taken to enter Europe, and the worst is yet to come, according to a new report.
The number of deaths was set to increase dramatically, according to Protothema, a newspaper in Greece. The Aegean Sea crossing where the woman and child died has seen the deaths of more than 3,000 people this year, but the route is still one of the most popular for refugees trying to cross into the European Union, as the eastern island of Lesbos is only a few hours away from Turkey, where many Syrian refugees are coming from.
The majority of people who take boats across the Aegean are using smugglers, whom they have often paid up to 2,000 euros. Aylan Kurdi, the 2-year-old boy who made headlines after photos of his drowned body were published all over the world, also died making the same crossing.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) September 30, 2015
Another refugee died in the Eurotunnel in northern France near Calais Wednesday after being crushed by heavy pallets while hiding in a large truck. The Eurotunnel runs under the English Channel and has become a popular and dangerous route for refugees and economic migrants who want to cross into the United Kingdom. At least 13 people have died in the Eurotunnel this year, most often hit by the high-speed trains that share the same pathway.
News of continuing fatalities in an ongoing refugee crisis came as lawmakers across the continent continued to struggle to come up with a unified response to the influx of people fleeing conflict in war-torn countries. Refugee policy was one of the most frequently occurring topics at the United Nations General Assembly in New York Monday and Tuesday, and few concrete steps were taken to move forward.
Most European countries have accepted the quota system as laid out by Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Commission, in which each member-state is required to take a certain number of refugees in function of that nation's size and wealth. European authorities such as Donald Tusk of the European Council, however, have said that the EU also needs to secure its borders to prevent people from attempting to make the dangerous crossing.