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Stranded Migrant Gives Birth on a Rocky Islet in Greece

Migrant Greece Lesvos
The woman from Eritrea and her baby are being transferred by the Greek Coast Guard to a Lesvos hospital. Credit: AMNA

A woman from Eritrea has given birth on an uninhabited rocky islet near Lesvos, Greece on Wednesday after traveling with other migrants from nearby Turkey.

A coast guard official said 29 Eritreans—24 men and five women—were spotted during a patrol near the eastern Greek island of Lesbos. One of the women had just given birth.

They were also rescued and taken to Lesvos, with the mother and baby receiving hospital treatment.

“They were spotted by a patrol and are all in good health,” the coast guard official said on condition of anonymity because an official announcement hadn’t yet been released.

Migrant mother and baby “in good health”

“The mother and the baby are also in good health,” the official said.

The migrants were found on the islet of Barbalias about three kilometers (two miles) east of Lesvos and around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Turkish coast. Local officials said the baby was a boy.

“Congratulations to the officers of the Coast Guard who saved a mother and her child who was born on the rocky islet and who were abandoned by unscrupulous traffickers,” said the Minister of Shipping Giannis Plakiotakis.

He confirmed that mother and child are now safe at a Lesvos hospital and added: “We are saving lives in the Aegean.”

Greece’s Lesvos entry point for migrants

Lesvos was the busiest entry point into the European Union during the 2015 to 2016 crisis when hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fled war in Iraq and Syria among other places.

On Monday, Greek authorities charged six of the 108 migrants rescued off Mykonos in a rudderless sailboat over the weekend with illegally transporting third-country nationals.

Charges against the group included causing a shipwreck and forming a criminal organization.

The announcement came a day after the Greek Coast Guard rescued the migrants from the boat, including 63 men, 24 women, and 21 children. Officials had received a distress signal from the vessel.

None of those on board were wearing a life vest, the Coast Guard said. Nationalities of individuals are unknown.

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