Egypt forms workgroup for Greece migrant boat tragedy

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Jun 2023

Egypt has set up a special workgroup to address tragic irregular migrant boat sinking in Greece, resulting in the loss of at least 78 lives.

Thousands of migrants heading to the eastern Greek islands are increasingly opting to take larger boats, such as sailboats and yachts. (Hellenic Coast Guard/AFP)


The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Monday that the workgroup will guide families of victims and missing migrants through the process of identifying bodies.

The workgroup will be stationed at the ministry's consular affairs office in Cairo's Garden City, at 7 Lazoghly Street (Izis Building).

The statement provided contact numbers for people to reach out:

The foreign ministry is communicating with the Egyptian Embassy in Athens and relevant Greek authorities to check on survivors and obtain details about the missing victims' identities, according to the statement.

“While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its condolences to the families of the victims, it continues to work tirelessly to provide all means of support for the victims of the incident and their families,” the statement stressed.

One of the worst migrant shipwrecks occurred on Wednesday, as an irregular migrant boat carrying hundreds of people, including Egyptians, sank off the Greek coast while en route from Libya to Italy.

Men, women, and children from a variety of nationalities, including Syrians, Egyptians, Palestinians, and Pakistanis, are believed to be among the migrants.

The death toll from the shipwreck has risen to 81, with hundreds of migrants still missing.

A total of 43 Egyptians, including five minors and 38 men, were among survivors of the shipwreck, according to Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Expatriates Affairs Soha Gendy.

The total number of Egyptians who could be missing still remains unclear since there are no figures for how many Egyptians were onboard the boat to start with, Gendy added.

Between 400-750 migrants of different nationalities were on board the afflicted ship, according to the minister.

Nine Egyptians were arrested by Greek authorities on suspicion of participating in migrant smuggling.

Curbing irregular migration

In 2016, Egypt adopted a national strategy to combat irregular migration.

The strategy included issuing legislation that stipulates jail terms and heavy fines for migrant smugglers

It also includes measures to tackle the root causes of irregular migration by increasing income and employment in governorates which send off high numbers of migrants.

On Sunday, the EU allocated 80 million euros to Egypt for border management, search and rescue, and anti-smuggling operations as part of its collaboration with the country on curbing irregular migration.

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