IOM: Refugees dying at quicker rate in Mediterranean – Al Jazeera
From a 17 September report by Anealla Safdar in Al Jazeera on how the Mediterranean crossing has become increasingly deadly for migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe from North Africa:
Refugees and migrants are dying in the Mediterranean at a quicker rate than last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported, as rights groups raise alarm over abusive conditions in Libya – now the main country of departure.
While fewer refugees have drowned so far in 2017 compared with the same period a year ago, the number of arrivals has fallen drastically – meaning that those who do set off from the Libyan coast have a greater chance of dying.
At least 2,550 refugees and migrants died from January 1 to September 13, 2017, compared with 3,262 from the same period in 2016, the IOM said – a drop of 22 percent.
However, arrivals to Europe have fallen much more sharply from 293,806 to 128,863 – a year-on-year decrease of 57 percent.
At this year’s rate, one refugee dies for every 50 who make it to Europe. Last year, one person died for every 90 who safely reached Europe.
“The rate of deaths for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean was almost twice as high in 2017 than in 2016,” the IOM said in a recent report.
“Despite considerable policy and media attention and increased search and rescue efforts by a range of actors, the death toll in the Mediterranean has continued to rise … The rate of death increased from 1.2 percent in the first half of 2016, to 2.1 percent in the first half of 2017.