At least 22 people have drowned while attempting to cross from Turkey to the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Rhodes.

In two separate incidents, Greek coastguard said 19 people died and 138 were rescued near Kalymos, and three people died and six rescued near Rhodes.

The shipwrecks follow another incident earlier this week where ten people died and 242 were rescued after their boat began to sink while en route from Libya to Greece.

The number of fatalities from those making the crossing has been rising in recent weeks, with bad weather causing a number of boats to capsize or break apart in rough seas.

Following news of the latest drownings, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he felt shame over the way Europe is handling the ongoing migrant crisis and blamed politicians for shedding “crocodile tears”.

Speaking in the Greek parliament, the Syriza leader said:

“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.”

At least 70 children have died attempting to reach Greece since the death of five-year-old Aylan Kurdi in September and the image of his lifeless body softened the anti-migrant stance of many people across Europe, according to a report by the charity Save the Children.

In a statement, Kate O’Sullivan of Save the Children said:

“To have the small bodies of babies and children carried ashore or washed up on these idyllic beaches is devastating. Though the crossing from Turkey to Greece is short, the waters are increasingly dangerous and sadly we’re going to see more of these needless deaths. What we need are safe and legal routes for refugees to come to Europe, to stop people who have already suffered so much losing their lives close to the end their journey.”

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