Deaths likely higher than 1 000 in the Mediterranean


Migrants drowning at the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by AFP

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
Libya Bureau
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – ALMOST 1 000 people have reportedly died in the central Mediterranean this year amid restrictive measures by countries of arrivals.

It is the world’s deadliest migration route and figures may only be a tip of the iceberg.

SOS Mediterranee, the maritime-humanitarian organisation for the rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, documented the deaths as the receiving countries allegedly breach international maritime law.

The death toll mentioned above is seen as an unprecedented number in years.

Among the most tragic incidents, on April 28, the Tunisian Coast Guard reported that at least 210 bodies were recovered on the beaches in only two weeks.

A week later, two more bodies were uncovered.

On May 8, Tunisian authorities reported to have recovered the bodies of 14 people in 24 hours.

The International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) has documented more than 30 000 deaths on maritime routes to Europe since 2014. Deaths include 956 recorded in the Central Mediterranean this year only.

IOM believes these figures are almost certainly an undercount of the true death toll.

Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM spokesperson, attributed the high numbers to the emergence of metal boats now being used for the illegal crossings.

The boxes are said to be sold cheaply and are poorly soldered together.

Meanwhile, the surge of crossings has been attributed to the unrest in Tunisia, which became the first country of departure ahead of Libya this year.

Tunisia has been at the centre of a racism storm targeting black migrants.

– CAJ News

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