Greece will request humanitarian aid to locate the body of the five-year-old girl who was reported to have died near the border on a Turkish islet on Evros River, where she was stranded with a group of 38 undocumented migrants for over a week.
The group was eventually located and taken to safety by Greek authorities on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, provided details pertaining to the rescue of the group and an explanation as to why Greek authorities couldn’t have intervened earlier.
Migrants’ account of events
According to migrants’ statements, the group came from the Turkish coast of Evros River and were pushed to the islet by Turkish authorities.
“Officially, the Turkish authorities said they arrested the migrants inside Turkey but they did not allow them to apply for international protection as Turkey is [expected] to…by international law,” Minister Mitarachi said. “Instead, they took them to the coast of Evros River and by threat of violence, they pushed them to move towards Greece.”
The stranded migrants were desperately trying to get help from either country by sending their coordinates to human rights organizations and journalists.
According to Hellenic Police, the coordinates passed to them were confirmed to be Turkish territory; therefore, Greek authorities were unable to run a search and rescue operation at the location.
Migrants’ rescue operation on Greek territory
On August 14th, the group moved four kilometers to the south of the original coordinates and ontoGreek territory, where they hid for a day before they resent their signal.
“When the signal was located by the Greek authorities the group was found[,] and the people were transferred here, at the border post, where we offered them medical support,” the Greek Minister added.
Greek authorities will also request humanitarian aid for the recovery of the body of the dead girl.
“A 5-year-old child lost her life on Turkish territory, and this is really sad, Minister Mitarachi said. “We will move through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Organizations to locate the body of the child on the Turkish islet so it can be recovered and buried with dignity by the family.”