About 200 mi­grants drown in tragic trip to Europe

African Times - - International/Africa - AHMED ZAYED

AT least 199 mi­grants have drowned in the Mediter­ranean since the be­gin­ning of the year dur­ing at­tempts to cross to Europe by boat.

This is the worst toll in six months. The nas­ti­est re­mains June 2017 when 547 mi­grants or refugees lost their lives on the jour­ney that starts from Libya.

Three mi­grants, among them two in­fants, drowned last week.

Among other deaths, in the West­ern Mediter­ranean, two Al­ge­rian na­tion­als lost their lives last Tues­day.

Seven­teen sur­vivors were res­cued from the same boat.

In the Cen­tral Mediter­ranean, au­thor­i­ties re­ported three deaths off the coast of Libya also on Tues­day.

Last Thurs­day, the bod­ies of a baby and a young man were found on an over­loaded wooden boat dur­ing a res­cue op­er­a­tion.

The In­ter­na­tional Of­fice of Mi­gra­tion (IOM), the United Na­tions mi­gra­tion agency, dis­closed the fig­ures high­light­ing the es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem of mi­grants seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Europe de­spite the dan­ger­ous jour­ney by boat.

IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Gi­a­como said some 1 671 mi­grants have been res­cued in the waters be­tween Libya and Italy last Tues­day and Wed­nes­day.

Over­all, this year alone some 1 093 mi­grants have ar­rived in Italy through Libya. This is less than half the to­tal of 2 393 ar­riv­ing by this time last year.

“Libya-to-Italy voy­ages have shown a marked de­cline, al­though fa­tal­i­ties on the Mediter­ranean’s route re­main high,” Di Gi­a­como said. – CAJ News

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