Over 800 drown in fa­tal at­tempts to reach Europe

African Times - - International/africa - AHMED ZAYED

AT least 871 mi­grants have died or are miss­ing dur­ing the dan­ger­ous at­tempt to reach Europe through the Mediter­ranean this year.

Some 517 of those mi­grants are con­firmed to have died.

The deaths at sea, mostly through boats that de­part Libya, are in line with trends re­ported by the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Mi­gra­tion (IOM) over three years.

This year, nearly 140 ir­reg­u­lar mi­grants have died try­ing to reach Spain, which is about two-thirds the 2017 to­tal, yet with three quar­ters of the year re­main­ing.

In Italy, there have been 360 deaths on the Mediter­ranean’s Cen­tral Route through 100 days to the be­gin­ning of 2018.

IOM, the United Na­tions mi­gra­tion agency, re­ports that nonethe­less, 15 289 mi­grants and refugees have en­tered Europe by sea through the first 95 days of 2018, with about 44 per­cent ar­riv­ing in Italy and the re­main­der di­vided be­tween Greece (33 per­cent) Spain (23 per­cent) and Cyprus (less than 1 per­cent).

This com­pares with 31 060 at this point in 2017, and with 172 089 in 2016.

“Even though the death toll is smaller, the ra­tio of drown­ings to ar­rivals is ac­tu­ally much higher than was recorded this time last year,” IOM stated.

IOM Libya’s Chris­tine Petré said the Libyan Coast Guard had last week re­turned 80 mi­grants, all men, to safety in the North African coun­try.

Most of those mi­grants res­cued from a rub­ber boat try­ing to reach Italy were from Ghana, Morocco, Nige­ria and Su­dan.

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