Newshub18: Dangerous Mediterranean crossings are awaiting migration, with refugee deaths on the rise.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the death toll on its way to Europe across the Mediterranean is rising. Even with relatively few immigrants and refugees on the perilous road, the death march has not stopped.
The migration crisis reached its peak in 2015, when more than a million refugees and asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean into Europe. In 2021, that number dropped to 123,300. However, the UN refugee agency says more than 3,200 people died or went missing while crossing the sea last year, nearly 1,000 more than the number recorded in 2016.
In addition to the rising death toll at sea, UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantu said more people could die or go missing on land routes through the Sahara Desert and remote border areas.
He said deaths and abuses were common in countries of origin and destination for migrants, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya.
Mantu said, “UNHCR continues to warn refugees and immigration hopefuls not to travel this perilous journey.
Many of the victims are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution.”
Mantu says refugees and immigration hopefuls have no choice but to rely on smugglers. .He says they face a high risk of abuse from smugglers, either by land through the Sahara Desert or by sea from Libya and Tunisia to Italy or Malta.
“Every year, thousands of people die or go missing at sea, leaving no trace.”
The UNHCR is calling for greater action to prevent deaths, find alternatives to dangerous journeys and prevent human trafficking. The agency called for increased humanitarian assistance and solutions to international security needs