LESBOS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister lashed out Friday at European “ineptness” in the continent’s massive immigration crisis after 31 more people, mostly children, drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry said 19 people died and 138 were rescued near the eastern island of Kalymnos, in one of the worst accidents in Greek waters since hundreds of thousands starting fleeing the war in Syria. Eight of the victims were children and three were babies.

At least three more people – a woman, a child and a baby – died when another migrant boat sank off the nearby Greek island of Rhodes, and three more were missing. On the islet of Agathonissi, a fisherman recovered the body of a boy missing from yet another accident on Wednesday.

The death toll in the Aegean over the past three days has now at least 50. On the Turkish side, Turkey’s state-run agency said four children drowned and two others were missing after two new accidents Friday involving boats en route to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos.

Nearly 600 people were rescued by the Greek coast guard in the past 24 hours, while thousands more made it safely from Turkey to Greece southeastern islands.

Far to the west in Spain, rescuers found the bodies of four migrants and were searching for 35 missing from a boat that ran into trouble trying to reach Spain from Morocco.

Greece is the main point of entry for people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, after an alternative sea route from Libya to Italy became too dangerous. Well over half a million people – mainly Syrians and Afghans – have arrived so far this year from the nearby Turkish coast, as European governments weigh taking tougher measures to try to limit the number of arrivals.


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