2016 dead­li­est year in Mediter­ranean –UN

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BERLIN (AP): HE UNITED Na­tions refugee agency said yes­ter­day that at least 3,800 mi­grants have died in the Mediter­ranean Sea so far this year in an at­tempt to reach Europe, mak­ing 2016 the dead­li­est year on record.

The Geneva-based agency had warned Tues­day that this year’s death toll was likely to ex­ceed the 3,771 deaths re­ported for the whole of 2015.

T“We’re re­ceiv­ing more re­ports of deaths in the Med,” spokesman Wil­liam Spindler tweeted Wed­nes­day. “We can now con­firm that at least 3,800 peo­ple have died, mak­ing 2016 the dead­li­est ever.”

FLIMSY BOATS

Scores of mi­grants have been drown­ing each week as the frag­ile and of­ten over­crowded boats they travel on cap­size or sink, the UN agency said. It blamed bad weather, flimsy boats and the fact that mi­grants flee­ing war and poverty are in­creas­ingly tak­ing the haz­ardous cen­tral Mediter­ranean route from Libya to Italy in an at­tempt to reach Europe.

A deal be­tween the Euro­pean Union and Tur­key largely closed off the east­ern route ear­lier this year.

About half of the 327,800 mi­grants who crossed the Mediter­ranean this year did so us­ing the cen­tral route, where about one in ev­ery 47 peo­ple dies. By com­par­i­son, the over­all death rate for the whole Mediter­ranean last year — when more than a mil­lion peo­ple ar­rived in Europe — was one in 269 cross­ings.

The UN agency also said that smug­glers have been chang­ing their tac­tics, ar­rang­ing mass em­barka­tions of thou­sands of peo­ple at once.

AP

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