Two children drown off Greek island in latest migrant tragedy

PARIS • The badly decomposed bodies of two children were found washed up on the Greek island of Kos on Sunday, the latest victims of a crisis that has seen 630,000 people enter the European Union (EU) illegally this year.

A dead boy, thought to be less than a year old, was discovered on a hotel beach early Sunday, dressed in green trousers and a white T-shirt. The decomposed body of an older child, wearing blue trousers and a pink T-shirt, believed to be three to five years old, was found hours later at the same spot.

The authorities believe the children were from migrant families that had been trying to reach Kos by dinghy, Greek media reported.

Both bodies have been transferred to a hospital for an autopsy and DNA testing.

Greece has been struggling to cope with migrants making the dangerous crossing from Turkey. The EU's border chief Fabrice Leggeri said 630,000 people have entered the bloc illegally this year.

Brussels and Ankara were reportedly set to approve yesterday a plan that would see Turkey join Greek coastguard patrols in the eastern Aegean, coordinated by EU border protection agency Frontex.

Any migrants picked up would be taken back to Turkey, where six new camps for up to two million people would be built, co-financed by the EU.

Mr Leggeri said that "more integrated management" was needed to cope with the regions' worst migrant crisis since World War II, including giving the agency power to act without member state approval.

"Member states must understand that in place of deploying hundreds of police at their national borders, it would be more useful to send them to the (EU's) external border," he told the Ebra press group.

"If every state manages the crisis on its own, without coordinating with their neighbours, the flux will go from one country to another, to everyone's cost," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Two children drown off Greek island in latest migrant tragedy'. Print Edition | Subscribe