The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed “great concern” about the high number of refugees and migrants in 2016 WHO have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean. To date, despite still missing two months to the end of the year, there are at least 3,740 dead and missing – a little less than 3,771 recorded in 2015, so far the deadliest year. A “tragic outcome” is detected despite the sharp overall decline in the number of people who have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

“Decrement” apparent if it is true that only yesterday, 24th October, the Italian Coast Guard has rescued 2,200 migrants in the central Mediterranean, in 21 different rescue operations (18 rafts and 3 small boats).

According to UNHCR data, there are about 327,800 refugees and migrants who undertook the dangerous crossing, compared to 1,015,078 recorded in 2015. Since the beginning of 2016, one person in every 88 who attempted the crossing has lost life, a figure up sharply compared to 1 person every 269 last year. In the central Mediterranean this figure is even higher, with one death every 47 arrivals.

There are many causes of this increase, in the opinion of UNHCR, : about half of those who cross the Mediterranean are headed to Italy and embark from North Africa, a notoriously dangerous route.

Traffickers are also using increasingly poor quality vessels, including fragile rafts that often do not stand up to the entire duration of the trip. The cause of several accidents appear to be bad weather, but also the tactics of traffickers are changing in many cases have occurred mass departures of thousands of people simultaneously. This may be due to the fact that human trafficking is shifting towards new modes or perception that the risks linked to the crossing are lower than before, which makes the work more difficult rescuers.

“Facing this situation, while ensuring asylum systems functioning, it remains a political challenge for many countries, but measures to save lives are” points out that UNHCR calls on all countries “to do more in this regard. Strengthening access to regular routes to ensure safety of refugees has become a more urgent priority and this must be realized through actions such as the strengthening of the resettlement and humanitarian admission, family reunification, private sponsorship, and the granting of visas to refugees for humanitarian reasons, study and work. “

The high mortality rate also points out “the importance of continuous and intense search and rescue action, without which the number of casualties would certainly be higher,” concluded UNHCR and thanked “governments and private entities that every day and often in difficult conditions, contribute to this important life-saving work”.


Source: medNews