ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s coast guard recovered the badly decomposed body of a baby on Sunday on the shore of the island of Kos, a major entry point into the European Union for thousands of migrants and refugees who cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey.
The infant, believed to be a boy aged between six months and one year old, dressed in green trousers and a white t-shirt, was discovered near a seaside hotel, a coast guard official said.
The coast guard did not give the baby’s nationality.
Thousands of refugees - mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - attempt the short but perilous trip by boat, often in rough seas due to poor weather.
Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday, overwhelming the crisis-stricken government’s ability to cope. Most have rapidly headed north towards Germany.
Photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body was washed up in early September on a beach in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, 4 km (2.5 miles) from Kos, shocked the world’s conscience and focused attention on the plight of refugee families.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made the migration issue a top priority for his re-elected government and discussed it in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Saturday.
Germany and Austria committed to support Greek efforts to secure more EU funds to cope with the influx and boost staff at EU agencies dealing with borders and refugees which are operating on the ground, Tsipras’s office said.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Paul Taylor and Gareth Jones