Six refugees struggled up the breakwater to safety and were rescued, but the number of migrant deaths from drowning is on the increase. The Turkish coastguard told Reuters that 24 bodies were discovered on the Ayvalik shoreline, whilst ten others were washed ashore in the district of Dikili.
Video footage of the aftermath of the drownings showed a body with a lifejacket being pulled from the sea onto a beach by fishermen. Other bodies, also in lifejackets were strewn nearby.
The desperation of the refugees, left with no choice but to embark on the journey, continues to be exploited by criminals. Many are forced to pay with their lives after boarding unseaworthy boats, wearing lifejackets unfit to keep them alive in the event of danger. Another 56 migrants had to be rescued recently from a sinking dinghy traveling from Dikili to the Greek island of Lesbos.
Meanwhile over 1,263 unsafe lifejackets have been seized by Turkish police in a raid on a workshop using child labour in Izmir, a city on the Aegean coastline. According to AFP, they were destined to be sold to migrants but failed to reach safety standards.
It´s so sad to see refugees in Turkey buying lifejackets. Wish they didn´t have to go on those boats. Wish there was no war.— LifesIndulgence (@LifesIndulgence) October 5, 2015
Indeed, despite a US$3.2 billion deal with the Turkish government to stem the flow of migration of people from Turkey to Europe, people continue to cross the Aegean Sea; lining the pockets of people smugglers, capitalizing on the refugee crisis. More people boarded a boat in December 2015 than during the summer months. The average number of refugees arriving in Lesbos each day is 3,338. In July it was 1,771.
Commenting on the new plans, Luca Visentini, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, said: "EU leaders are completely failing to step up to the scale of the humanitarian crisis inside and outside the EU".
Nevertheless, more talks have been scheduled between EU leaders on how to impose new border control measures aimed at stopping migrants from entering northern Europe.
More than 850,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Aegean Sea in the last year; and this latest tragedy, involving the death of 34 people, is just a drop in the ocean of the number of people who have died trying.