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There is no room to bury people shipwrecked off Greece as crossing numbers continue to rise

United Nations figures show that more than 218,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in October.

Migrants are fleeing war and persecution to start a new life in Europe
Migrants are fleeing war and persecution to start a new life in Europe
Image: Marko Drobnjakovic

THE MAYOR OF the Greek island of Lesbos says there’s no more room to bury the increasing number of men, women and children killed in shipwrecked boats while seeking safety in Europe.

Mayor Spyros Galinos told the country’s Vima FM there were more than 50 bodies in the morgue on the eastern Aegean island that he was still trying to find a burial location for.

However Galinos said he was trying to fast-track procedures so a field next to the main cemetery could be taken over for burials.

Greece’s coast guard says it has rescued more than 1,400 people in 39 separate search-and-rescue operations in the eastern Aegean over the weekend.

The coast guard said it had picked up 1,431 people near the islands of Lesbos and neighbouring islands  between Friday morning and Monday morning.

The island currently plays host to a large number of migrants fleeing persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

United Nations figures show that more than 218,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in October, a monthly record and more than during the whole of 2014.

“Last month was a record month for arrivals,” UN refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told AFP, pointing out that “arrivals in October parallelled the entire 2014.”

In October, 218,394 people made crossing, with the majority of them landing in Greece, compared to 216,054 Mediterranean arrivals during all of last year.

The soaring numbers of arrivals brought to over 744,000 the number of people who have made the journey so far this year.

As the numbers going coming to Europe continue to rise, an Afghan official says authorities there will take back all Afghan citizens deported from Germany, which is struggling to accommodate the hundreds of thousands who have arrived this year seeking safety.

Afghans currently make up the second largest nationality, after Syrians, arriving in Europe.

The deputy presidential spokesman, Zafar Hashemi, says as a signatory to the Geneva Convention, Afghanistan is obliged to accept its citizens whose asylum applications have been rejected.

- With reporting from © AFP, AP 2015

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