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A Greek Coast Guard helicopter flies over a Frontex vessel trying to rescue refugees and migrants, after a boat carrying more than 200 people sunk while crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey, near the Greek island of Lesbos, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis

242 Migrants Rescued off Greek Coast

The Greek Coast Guard rescued 242 migrants on Wednesday after their boat sank off the northern coast of Lesbos, a Greek Island.

Five children and two adults have died, bringing the total number in the region to 36 this month.

Rescue teams were joined in their efforts by fishing crews even several locals who rode out to the scene on jet skis, struggling against high winds.

“These praiseworthy attempts of the coastguard to save refugees at sea is at risk of now turning into a constant operation of locating and collecting drowned refugees,” said Thodoris Dritsas, the Greek Shipping Minister.

Since January of this year Greece has seen more than half a million new arrivals though its surrounding islands. With winter approaching the numbers have been increasing.

At an EU summit last Sunday European leaders agreed to greater cooperation in handling the crisis and to the construction of UN-aided housing for 100,000 people, with half of them in Greece.

Humanitarian groups have been critical of what they see as a series of half-measures by EU and national authorities, saying more resources need to be directed towards the crisis in the Mediterranean.

According to the International Office for Migration more than 3,200 people have died in these crossings, most of them children.

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