ATHENS, Greece – Disasters at sea claimed the lives of dozens of migrants on Sunday, as desperate people fleeing war and poverty braved the risky journey to seek sanctuary in Europe.
Thirteen migrants died after their boat collided with a ferry off the Turkish coast, officials there said, while the Greek coast guard fanned out in the choppy waters of the Aegean Sea searching for another 27 people missing after their boat sank off the island of Lesbos.
Coast guard officials said some 29 people were rescued in the two incidents, which followed another sinking near Lesbos Saturday, in which a 5-year-old girl drowned. Between 10 and 12 people went missing.
The events highlight the risks that those fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are willing to take in hopes of reaching sanctuary in Europe. Men, women and children continue to take the perilous sea journey despite the fact that thousands of earlier migrants find themselves blocked by closed border crossings in the Balkans.
Hungary's decision to shut its border with Serbia on Sept. 15 set off a chain reaction in Croatia and Slovenia that has forced people fleeing violence in their homelands to rush from one European border to the next as they desperately try to find their way north before the rules change again.
Thousands are on the move all over southeastern Europe as authorities struggle to respond. Some 11,000 migrants crossed from Hungary into Austria in the 24-hour period ending on midnight Saturday, with at least another 7,000 expected Sunday.
In the Austrian border village of Nickelsdorf people arrived by foot after completing a half-an-hour walk from the Hungarian town of Hegyeshalom. From there, buses and trains take them to emergency shelters in Vienna and other parts of Austria.
Meanwhile, leaders all across the region are sniping at one another, underscoring the sense of crisis and disarray.
Hungary's erection of razor-wire fences is deeply straining its ties with neighboring countries, who feel the problem of the huge flow of migrants is being unfairly pushed onto them. After completing a fence along the border with Serbia, Hungary is now building fences along its borders with Croatia and Romania.
After lashing out against Croatian officials, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is now trading barbs with his Romanian counterpart over the fence.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Saturday called the border closure an "autistic and unacceptable act" that violated the spirit of the European Union.
"We would expect more modesty from a foreign minister whose prime minister is currently facing trial," Szijjarto said. That was a reference to corruption charges filed recently against Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
"We are a state that is more than 1,000 years old that throughout its history has had to defend not only itself, but Europe as well many times," Szijjarto added. "That's the way it's going to be now, whether the Romanian foreign minister likes it or not."
The Hungarian Foreign Ministry has called in the Romanian ambassador for a consultation on Monday.
Danica Kirka in Zagreb, Croatia; Vanessa Gera in Budapest, Hungary; Raphael Satter in Istanbul; Philipp Jenne, in Nickelsdorf, Austria; George Jahn in Vienna and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this story.