September 21, 2015 / 8:42 AM / 3 years ago

Refugee landings in Lesbos ease as storm approaches and deaths mount

A dinghy overcrowded with migrants and refugees drifts out of control after its engine fell in the water while crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos September 20, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

LESBOS (Reuters) - Fewer boats than normal carrying Syrian refugees and migrants from elsewhere landed on the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday morning as a storm threatened to hit, following a weekend of death at sea.

A Reuters photographer on the island, close to the Turkish coast and a gateway for migrants seeking to enter the European Union, said only three boats had landed, compared with around 20 on other recent mornings.

The island was due to be hit by a thunder storm later in the day.

Over the weekend, 13 migrants died in Turkish waters near Lesbos when a boat carrying 46 people en route to Greece collided with a dry cargo vessel and capsized.

Six of those killed were children and 20 others were rescued, according to a Turkish coastguard source.

A girl believed to be five years died on Saturday and 13 other migrants were feared lost overboard after their boat sank in choppy seas off the Greek island of Lesbos, the Greek coastguard said.

Separately, a girl believed to be 5-years-old died on Saturday and 13 other migrants were feared lost overboard after their boat sank in choppy seas.

Hundreds of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved the short but precarious crossing from Turkey to Greece’s eastern islands this year, mainly in flimsy and overcrowded inflatable boats.

Reporting by Yannis Behrakis and Jeremy Gaunt; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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