22 refugees drown in latest boat tragedy off Greece

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras condemned EU member states for 'passing the buck' on migration

At least 22 refugees - many of them children - have drowned trying to reach Kalymnos and Rhodes from Turkey, in the second major boat tragedy off Greek islands this week.

Greek officials said 19 people died and 138 were rescued near Kalymnos.

Three others died off Rhodes and three were missing. Six were rescued there.

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

Speaking in parliament, the left-wing Syriza leader condemned the "level of debate at a senior level, where one is passing the buck to the other" in the EU.

"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," Tsipras added.

In this week's previous sinking in the Aegean, Greek authorities confirmed the deaths of 16 peopel off Lesbos after their boat broke up in rough seas late on Wednesday. Rescuers managed to save 274 people.

Thousands have been arriving on Lesbos every day after making the dangerous journey from Turkey. People traffickers usually pack them onto unseaworthy boats, often inflatable dinghies.

The UN estimates that more than 700,000 refugees have crossed to Europe by boat so far this year - many of them escaping war-torn Syria. The approach of winter has so far done little to slow the flow.

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