Greece: Aegean Sea death tolls like to rise
Refugees and migrants try to board a dingy as they set out, trying to travel from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios, near Cesme, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (AP)
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LESBOS, Greece: The latest as hundreds of thousands of people seeking safety flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.

1:10 p.m.

An official leading rescue efforts on the Greek island of Lesbos has warned the death toll in the eastern Aegean Sea is likely to rise in the coming days unless urgent action is taken to stop smugglers in nearby Turkey.

Lt. Cdr. Antonios Sofiadelis told The Associated Press that smugglers were using increasingly dangerous tactics to take refugees to Greece.

His warning Saturday came after more than 60 people, half of them children, died in the past four days while trying to reach Lesbos and other Greek islands from the Turkish coast.

Greece has seen a surge of arrivals in recent weeks. Police said 7,200 people had crossed the Greek-Macedonian border in the last 24-hours, more than double the recent daily average.

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12:55 p.m.

Croatian police say a 63-year-old woman from Afghanistan has died of natural causes in a refugee camp in the first case of a migrant death there since a river of asylum-seekers started entering the country in mid-September.

Spokesman Domagoj Dzigumovic says the woman died Saturday morning upon arrival at the camp in Opatovac, near the border with Serbia. He did not give her name but said she will be buried at the nearest Muslim cemetery.

The woman’s grandson, Zobaid Fagiri, says “my grandmom has died. The way is hard and cold.” The 18-year-old says he will wait for the rest of the family before proceeding on to Germany.

Nearly 300,000 asylum-seekers have entered Croatia on their way toward Western Europe.

 

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