More than 10,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe since 2014, the United Nations announced on Tuesday.
“You’ve now had since the start of 2014 — when this phenomenon of rising numbers across the Mediterranean happened — 10,000 deaths. That threshold has been crossed just in the last few days,” UN refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters.
In just the first five full months of this year, 203,981 people fleeing dangerous conditions in their home countries have e,barked on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
This Photo Is Why You Need To Start Paying Attention To Europe’s Refugee CrisisWorld by CREDIT: Christian Buttner/EIKON NORD GMBH GERMANY via AP In what may become this year’s symbol of the migrant…thinkprogress.orgBut they often don’t make it. Many refugees desperate to reach Europe are forced to rely on smugglers, who overload unsafe boats or provide fake life jackets filled with non-bouyant material. Earlier this month, over the span of three consecutive days, more than 880 people turned up dead or missing after their boats sank. Many of them were young children.
Migrants and refugees are most likely to succumb to death along the North Africa — Italy route, where their odds of dying are as high as one in 23, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. These individuals are mainly traveling from Libya, which is the closest country to Italy by sea. Human smugglers use Libya — which lacks a central governing body — as its send-off point for migrants fleeing about a dozen countries in Africa and the Middle East.
The European Union has tried to crack down on “irregular” migration patterns. The European Union-Turkey deal, for instance, sent a number of Syrian refugees in Europe back to Turkey in exchange for Turkey to receive benefits like freer travel for Turkish citizens throughout the EU.
Why So Many Refugees Are Fleeing To Europe From LibyaA spate of capsized boats and shipwrecks off the Libyan coast last week led to the deaths of more than 880 people…thinkprogress.orgBut it’s unlikely that migrants and refugees will stop leaving their home countries anytime soon. Issues affecting African countries are driving a northward push — and some refugees have nowhere left to go.
The Kenyan government, for instance, recently announced that it will shut down its two largest refugee camps, displacing nearly 600,000 people. Political instability from a two-decades-old civil war continues to plague Somalia. And five years of war have driven more than 7,500 refugees from southern Sudan to neighboring South Sudan, where resources are increasingly strained to accommodate them.