200 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

200 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

More than 200 migrants are feared dead in a boat sinking off the coast of Libya. Proactiva Open Arms said it had recovered five bodies floating near two capsized boats, which can each hold more than 100 people..

How to solve the crisis?

More than 200 migrants are feared dead in a boat sinking off the coast of Libya. Proactiva Open Arms said it had recovered five bodies floating near two capsized boats, which can each hold more than 100 people. The group's Laura Lanuza said the five they pulled from the Mediterranean were young men who appeared to have drowned. A spokesman for Italy's coast guard, which co-ordinates rescues, confirmed the five deaths. But they could not confirm the estimates of deaths given by Proactiva, they had received no distress calls from any boats. Ms. Lanuza said at least 240 migrants may have died as the boats were often overloaded by smugglers.

Untold story of Europe's drowned migrants

  • More than 1,250 unnamed men, women and children have been buried in unmarked graves in 70 sites in Turkey, Greece and Italy since 2014. The majority died trying to cross the Mediterranean to seek a new life in Europe.
  • Over the past two years an estimated 8,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross into the EU, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
  • Most are lost at sea, but many bodies have been washed ashore, bringing tragedy to the beaches of Greece, Italy and Turkey.
  • But who cares for these dead? Where are they buried? And how can desperate relatives many miles away discover if their missing loved ones are among the drowned?

Analysis 

  • Numbers of migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya via Italy have risen dramatically this year since the route between Turkey and Greece was effectively shut down.
  • The Italian coast guard had co-ordinated more than 40 rescue operations in the last few days.
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 20,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year - and some 559 people are estimated to have died or gone missing en route.
  • This compares with fewer than 19,000 arrivals in Italy and about 350 deaths in the first three months of 2016.

Assessment

Opening up safe routes to sanctuary for refugees is one important solution. That means allowing people to reunite with their relatives, and giving refugees visas so they don’t have to spend their life savings and risk drowning to reach safety.

World leaders also need to put saving lives first. No one should have to die crossing a border, and yet almost 7,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean alone in the two years since the first big shipwreck in October 2013. 

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