Twenty six refugees are feared drowned off Lesvos as the Greek coast guard plucked dozens from the water after a dinghy carrying 46 people overturned in choppy waters.
A search-and-rescue operation was under way and 20 other people were pulled from the water, a coastguard spokeswoman said, adding that “They (the survivors) told rescuers there were 46 people in the inflatable dinghy in total.”
Drownings have become an almost daily occurrence on Greek waters since the escalation of the refugee crisis.
Fifteen babies and children were among 34 who died a week ago when their boat capsized off the small island of Farmakonisi.
While European leaders remain bitterly divided over how to address the growing refugee crisis and the inability to control European sea borders, countries have implemented their own policies, some like Hungary using force against refugees.
Germany has said it will accept upwards of 800,000 refugees from Syria with other European countries offering varying numbers.
Speaking at a press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States would take in upwards of 200,000 refugees— up from a previous White House promise to take 10,000.
Kerry said the United States would take 85,000 refugees in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.
Many, though not all, of the additional refugees would be Syrian, American officials have said. Others would come from strife-torn areas of Africa.
Asked why the U.S. couldn’t take more, Kerry cited post-Sept. 11 screening requirements and a lack of money made available by Congress.
“We’re doing what we know we can manage immediately,” he said, adding that the U.S. cannot take shortcuts on security checks.