Migrant girl, 5, and woman die of the cold on the way to Greece by sea

Refugees and migrants disembark at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece.
Refugees and migrants disembark at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece.PHOTO: EPA

ATHENS (AFP) - A five-year-old girl and a woman died of the cold on Wednesday (Jan 20) as they tried to reach Greece by sea, as the flow of migrants heading for Europe resumed following a lull due to high winds, police sources said.

They said the girl died after she was rescued from the sea when the vessel she was travelling on capsized en route from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos.

The 55 other people on the boat survived after the rescue by a patrol boat of the EU border agency Frontex.

Frontex also rescued migrants including women and children aboard another boat that was in difficulty, but the crew were unable to save one woman who also died of hypothermia.

With temperatures hovering around 0 deg C, the numbers of migrants and refugees reaching Lesbos has picked up since Tuesday after violent winds had prevented crossings, a police source said.

More than a thousand had arrived by midday on Wednesday, after some 800 on Tuesday.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 77 people have died trying to reach the Greek islands from Turkey from January 1 to 18.

The IOM says around 31,000 made the crossing since the beginning of the year, 21 times more than in the same month last year.