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Children among victims of latest refugee boat sinking

Greek coastguard says 24 people drowned after boat sank while trying to reach island of Samos, taking death toll for 2016 to more than 200
Doctors Without Borders called on Thursday for EU leaders to create safe routes to Europe (AFP)

Ten children were among at least 24 people who died when a boat carrying refugees and migrants sank off the Greek island of Samos late on Wednesday night, the Greek coastguard said on Thursday.

Around 10 people were rescued by the Greek coastguard as well as by vessels from Frontex, the European border agency.

Earlier on Wednesday, rescuers discovered the bodies of seven people, two of them children, who had died when their boat sank off the coast of Kos.

The fresh sinkings come less than a week after 45 people were drowned when two separate boats ran into trouble on the way from Turkey to Greece.

Turkey is the main departure point for people attempting the dangerous journey, often in overcrowded boats to Greece.

So far in 2016, an average of roughly 1,500 people a day have arrived on the Greek islands, some of which are as little as four kilometres from Turkey across the choppy Aegean Sea.

More than 200 people have died attempting the crossing this year.

Doctors Without Borders, which assists people on stricken boats off the Greek coast, on Thursday called for European governments to open up safe routes for people to travel to the 28-member union.

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