Greece: Stranded on tiny island, migrant mother gives birth
LESBOS, Greece (AP) — Authorities in Greece say a woman from Eritrea has given birth on an uninhabited rocky islet after traveling with other migrants from nearby Turkey.
A coast guard official said 29 Eritreans ‒ 24 men and five women ‒ were spotted Wednesday during a patrol near the eastern Greek island of Lesbos. One of the women had just given birth.
They were also rescued and taken to Lesbos, with the mother and baby receiving hospital treatment.
“They were spotted by a patrol and are all in good health,” the coast guard official said on condition of anonymity because an official announcement hadn’t yet been released.
“The mother and the baby are also in good health,” the official said.
The migrants were found on the islet of Barbalias, about three kilometers (two miles) east of Lesbos and around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Turkish coast. Local officials said the baby was a boy.
Lesbos was the busiest entry point into the European Union during the 2015-16 crisis when hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fled war in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
But Greece has steadily toughened its migration policies, and many leaving Turkey now take the longer and more dangerous route to Turkey.
Over the weekend, the coast guard rescued 108 migrants from a leaking and rudderless sailboat near the holiday island of Mykonos.
Separately Wednesday, a man believed to be a migrant was found dead in the trunk of a car in an artificial lake near the Greek-Turkish border. Border police officers had pursued the vehicle after the driver refused to stop for a highway inspection. Five other passengers, all also believed to be migrants who had entered the country illegally, and the driver were detained, police said.
Costas Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki, Greece. Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of migration issues at https://apnews.com/hub/migration
By PANAGIOTIS BALASKAS and COSTAS KANTOURIS