Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hidden Tragedies

The avoidable and unnecessary deaths of hundreds of refugees no longer make the news headlines. There was a time that 250 refugees drowning at sea would be the lead news item for the media. But not anymore.

"Since the beginning of 2017, one person out of 35 has died on the sea journey from Libya to Italy," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
The numbers crossing the Mediterranean are vastly reduced on 2016: almost 190,000 this time last year, less than 50,000 this year. But the death toll is the same - more than 1,300 so far, meaning the Mediterranean is becoming deadlier. Aid agencies say smugglers are using ever flimsier boats and that there is now a form of piracy between smuggling gangs, in which migrants already at sea are robbed of their mobile phones, boat engines are stolen, and the vessels and passengers left to drift. Humanitarian groups point to the continuing instability in Libya and the limited extent of the government's territorial control. They said Libya was not a safe place for migrants.

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