Migrants still arriving as EU-Turkey deal enters force

Flimsy boats packed with migrants continued to land in Greece from Turkey on Sunday despite the start of a landmark deal between the European Union and Ankara to stem the massive influx.
Under the controversial deal, which came into force at midnight, all migrants landing on the Greek islands face being sent back to Turkey.
And in a grim start to an agreement designed to stop people from making a journey fraught with danger, two little girls were found drowned and two Syrian refugees died of heart attacks on the perilous crossing.
The Greek coastguard said the bodies of the girls, aged around one and two, were recovered off the tiny island of Ro.
The Syrians suffered heart attacks on arrival at the island of Lesbos, Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said.
Greek authorities said 875 migrants landed on the islands overnight, with some 15 boats, each carrying dozens of migrants, arriving on Lesbos alone on Sunday.
While officials said it would take time to start sending people back, the SOMP agency coordinating Athens’ response to the crisis said the hundreds who landed on Sunday faced certain deportation.
‘They will not be able to leave the islands, and we are awaiting the arrival of international experts who will launch procedures for them to be sent back,’ the SOMP agency said.
SOMP spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis had said late Saturday it would take time to implement the agreement as debt-crippled Greece struggles to cope with some 47,500 migrants currently stuck on its territory.
‘In practical terms, we will need the structures and personnel to be ready and this will take a little more than 24 hours,’ Kyritsis said.
Under the deal, for every Syrian among those sent back from Greece to Turkey, the EU will resettle one Syrian from the Turkish refugee camps where nearly three million people are living after fleeing their country’s brutal civil war.
Meanwhile, protesters voicing their support for migrants took to the streets of European capitals Saturday, the day after the EU and Turkey sealed a deal designed to tackle the continent’s biggest migration crisis since Second World War.
Thousands of people marched in London, Athens, Barcelona, Vienna, Amsterdam and several Swiss cities as Greece rushed to put in place the measures needed to enforce the deal sealed at a Brussels summit Friday.
Under the deal, all migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey from midnight on Sunday will face being sent back to Turkey.
The EU will take in one Syrian refugee from Turkish soil in exchange for every Syrian returned from Greece in a move designed to discourage people risking their lives by crossing the Aegean Sea in smugglers’ boats.
In London, approximately 4,000 people joined a protest carrying placards with slogans like ‘Refugees welcome here’ and ‘Stand up to racism’.

source : the new age

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