Record number of fatalities at Mediterranean
CAIRO, (CAJ News) – ABOUT 3 000 migrants and refugees that have this year drowned at the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to cross to Europe, indicating a sharp increase from the corresponding period last year.
Deaths so far this year are 2 859 compared with 1 838 through the first six months of 2015.
The figures indicate fatalities incurred in 2016 stand at 1 020 ahead of last year’s mid-year total, although the year remains three weeks of mid-year point.
International Office of Migration (IOM) spokesman, Flavio Di Giacomo, said an estimated 213 581 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 15 June, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
By last Friday, more than 2 800 migrants had been rescued at sea and brought to port since the last report.
Further, another 414 migrants were rescued but were not yet on land.
Since 2013 at least 10,000 people have died at sea trying to reach safety in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean.
Many perished at the hands of smugglers, who often exploit the most vulnerable.
Few have been held accountable for these crimes.
Recently, an alleged Eritrean smuggler, Medhanie Yehdego Mered, was extradited to Italy from Sudan on charges of masterminding a vast criminal smuggling network.
He stands accused of contributing to hundreds of deaths at sea, including at least 359 people who died when a smuggling ship sank in 2013.
– CAJ News
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