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Greece: 58 migrants rescued off Greek island in Aegean Sea

April 2, 2018

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dozens of migrants who sent out a distress call while off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Samos were rescued Monday after their boat was towed to land, Greek authorities said.

The boat, carrying 58 people, was located north of Samos in rough seas and was towed to the island by the European border agency Frontex, the Greek coast guard said.

A European Union-Turkey deal two years ago to halt the arrival of migrants into Europe has significantly reduced the number of people arriving on Greek islands from Turkey. But hundreds of people continue to make the crossing each week.

Greek authorities said more than 350 people had arrived on three Greek islands between Friday morning and Monday morning.

More than 14,300 migrants are stuck in overcrowded refugee camps on Greek islands, as the EU-Turkey deal stipulates that those arriving after March 2016 have to remain on the islands pending deportation back to Turkey unless they can successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

The European Commission on Monday announced 180 million euros ($220 million) in new funding for programs to aid refugees living in Greece. The programs include helping refugees in finding accommodation outside refugee camps.

The Commission said, in total, it has provided more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.85 billion) in humanitarian aid in Greece.

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