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Child Migrants Drown Trying to Reach Greece from Turkey

Refugees and migrants sit atop a heavily-listing small vessel as they try to travel from the Turkish coast to Skala Sykaminias on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Oct. 30, 2015.

At least 22 migrants, most of them children, drowned when two boats from Turkey sank enroute to the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Rhodes in Aegean Sea.

Greek officials said that 19 people died and 138 were rescued near Kalymnos Thursday night and Friday. Three others died off Rhodes, six were rescued and three were missing.

The latest deaths followed the drowning of 17 people, 11 of them children, Wednesday off the islands of Lesbos and Samos also in the Aegean.

Thousands of asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa are heading to Europe daily for a better life in the most prosperous countries of the European Union.

Speaking to lawmakers, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he felt "shame" over "the inability of Europe to deal effectively with this human drama."

"I want to say that, as a member of the European leadership I feel shame; shame, both for the inability of Europe to deal effectively with this human drama, but also for the quality of discussion," said Tsipras.

Migrants' path through Europe
Migrants' path through Europe

The left wing Syriza leader said it was crucial to prevent the Aegean Sea from becoming a graveyard for people fleeing war and misery, adding that, at present, the Aegean is washing out dead adult and child refugees, as well as the European civilization itself.

Tsipras condemned the quality of debate at the EU's senior level, where he said one is “passing the buck to the other."

"Crocodile tears are being shed for the dead children on the shores of the Aegean, because dead children always arouse sorrow, but what about the children that are alive who come in thousands and are packed on the refugee trail? Nobody cares for them," he said.

The Save the Children charity said in a statement Thursday that more than 70 children had drowned in the past two months in the attempt to reach Greece.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that more than 700,000 people have arrived in Europe this year and more than 3,000 have lost their lives trying to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, often on unsafe, overcrowded boats.