• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Migrant deaths in Mediterranean triple in three months


The number of migrants who died or went missing trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea this summer has tripled compared to last year, the United Nations said Friday.

At least 990 people died or went missing in the central Mediterranean route between northern Africa and Europe between June and August, compared to 334 deaths over the same months in 2022, UNICEF said.

The agency gave no separate number for children dying during the crossings but said that 11,600 unaccompanied minors had been among the migrants trying to get to Italy on makeshift vessels between January and September, up 60 percent from the first nine months of 2022.

“The Mediterranean has become a cemetery for children and their future,” UNICEF coordinator Regina De Dominicis said.

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“The tragic toll of children dying in search of asylum and security in Europe is the result of political choices and a defective migration system,” she said.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2,500 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean between January 1 and September 24, 50 percent more than in the same period last year.

The increase in migrant deaths comes as European governments have cracked down on migration, making it more difficult for people to reach Europe safely. This has led to more people taking riskier journeys, increasing the number of deaths.

The UN and other humanitarian groups have called on European governments to do more to save lives and to provide safe and legal pathways for refugees and asylum seekers.