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VoaNews.com: IOM: No Reports of Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean in Past 20 Days

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Tuesday, 29 August 2017

IOM: No Reports of Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean in Past 20 Days

  • Lisa Schlein
Migrants are escorted by Italian police after disembarking from Vos Hestia ship of NGO "Save the Children" at the Sicilian harbor of Augusta, Italy, Aug. 4, 2017.
Migrants are escorted by Italian police after disembarking from Vos Hestia ship of NGO "Save the Children" at the Sicilian harbor of Augusta, Italy, Aug. 4, 2017.

The International Organization for Migration reports no migrants have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea over the past 20 days. It adds migrant fatalities in general appear to be on the decline.

The central Mediterranean Sea route from Libya to Italy is much favored by African migrants who risk their lives on smugglers boats desperate to reach Europe. While this route might become a gateway to a better life for some, it also is notorious for taking the lives of many.

The International Organization for Migration reports a total of 2,410 Mediterranean Sea fatalities so far this year. IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle says it is remarkable to go without a single reported death for 20 days. He acknowledges it is very hard to know exactly why.

“The flows from Libya have diminished. If you recall in July, there were days when 3,000 people were picked up in one weekend. You remember that. Now, we have very, very few. So, something is happening. We are not sure what is behind it all. We see somewhat of a decline of migrant flows coming in from Niger, but not enough to justify or to explain why the flows across the Mediterranean have gone down,” Doyle said.

IOM data show the number of fatalities on the Mediterranean Sea generally has declined. Just 19 deaths have been recorded across the region this month, which is a sharp drop from the 689 recorded in August 2015 and 62 the same month last year.

Doyle says no deaths for 20 days might be a cause for celebration. He warns, though, this number can easily go up as smugglers continue to prey on vulnerable migrants, risking their lives while exploiting them for profit.



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