Refugee agency reveals fewer people crossing to Europe but one death for every 18 arrivals
Fewer people are making the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, but the proportion of those losing their lives while trying has risen sharply, the UN refugee agency has said in its latest report.
The UNHCR said 1,095 people died on the central Mediterranean route, mainly from Libya to Italy, between January and July this year, amounting to one death for every 18 arrivals. This compares with 2,276 last year, or one death for every 42 arrivals.
In June, the proportion hit one death for every seven arrivals, the agency said, adding that there had been 10 incidents so far this year in which 50 or more people died, most of them after leaving Libya and seven of them since June.
“The reason the traffic has become more deadly is that the traffickers are taking more risk, because there is more surveillance exercised by the Libyan coastguards,” said Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR’s special envoy for the central Mediterranean.
More than 300 people had also died so far in 2018 along the sea route from North Africa to Spain, the UNHCR said – a 50% increaThe UNHCR also outlined the dangers refugees face travelling to or within Europe by land, saying 78 deaths had been recorded so far this year along land routes in Europe or at Europe’s borders, compared with 45 in the same period last year.se on 2017, when 200 deaths were recorded for the whole year. In April, when more than 1,200 reached Spain by sea, the death rate was one in 14.
Migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya in January. Photograph: Hani Amara/Reuters