Thirty refugees left Greece for Luxembourg on Wednesday, the first from Greece under a new EU relocation plan but only a minuscule fraction of the hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers who have entered Greece this year. The six families from Syria and Iraq marked the start of a program to relocate refugees who have arrived in Greece from nearby Turkey to other European Union countries without them having to make the arduous, often dangerous overland journey across the Balkans on foot. More than 600,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Greece so far this year, most in the past few months. Dozens of overcrowded inflatable dinghies and wooden boats reach Greek islands daily, even during bad weather. Hundreds have drowned as their overloaded and unseaworthy boats overturned or sank — over 90 in the last week alone. Five people — three children and two men.
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