Refugee Drowning Victims

At least 34 people died Tuesday by drowning off the coast of Turkey. They were refugees attempting to leave Turkey and travel to Greece. Their two boats capsized in the rough waters of the Aegean Sea. At least three children were among the 34.

The refugees are believed to have originated from Syria, Algeria and Iraq. They may have left Turkey because of the conditions caused by the overwhelming overflow of refugees to that country. There are currently about 2.2 million registered Syrian refugees in a country about the size of Texas, with more unregistered and more arriving regularly. Some are settled in Turkish cities while hundreds of thousands await resettlement in camps.

While Turkish authorities work to keep conditions as good as possible for the millions of refugees finding shelter in their country and awaiting placement in other countries, some grow frustrated with waiting and choose to take their chances traveling elsewhere. This is likely what prompted the two boats full of refugees to attempt the trip to Greece.

A number of their fellow passengers were rescued and survived the shipwreck, authorities said. Coast guard boats and helicopters were searching for any additional survivors.

The 34 who drowned add their names to the nearly 4,000 refugees believed to have drowned in 2015 while seeking safety via Mediterranean waters. Almost 1 million others are believed to have attempted the trip from Turkey to Greece.

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