Greek island out of migrant burial space

2015-10-15 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  The authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos fear that the island’s main cemetery could be running out of space for the bodies of Middle Eastern migrants who die trying to make the sea crossing from Turkey.

Listen to John Carr's report:

Every week an average of four of those unfortunate victims are buried in the paupers’ section of the Mytilene cemetery after drowning at sea in the flimsy craft they tried to escape in.  Soon, municipal workers say, there will be no more room for them.

So far this year a staggering 450,000 migrants and refugees have crossed from Turkey over to the Greek islands, heading for northern Europe.  Several hundred have died in the attempt, among the more than 3,000 who so far have perished in the Mediterranean.

Local fishermen of Lesbos say they often find bodies caught in their nets and can do nothing but dump them back into the sea.  The entire coastline of the island is lined with discarded orange life-jackets.

October in Greece so far has been warm, and the seas calm.  But that could change any day, increasing the risk for the migrants and making the lack of burial space on the islands more acute.

(from Vatican Radio)