Over 200 migrants feared drowned off Libya – as 2017 promises to be even deadlier than 2016

Almost 6,000 people have attempted the Mediterranean crossing in the last week

 

Around 200 people may have drowned off Libya yesterday, according to a Spanish NGO that found five bodies in the water.

Two partially-submerged dinghies were found near the bodies and, since such boats are typically crammed with 120-130 people, rescue agencies fear the death toll may be much higher.

According to Vincent Cochetel of UNHCR, the incident comes after ‘an intense week of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean route, with almost 6,000 migrants and refugees rescued in just five days this week.’

He highlights that already in 2017, some 21,903 people have attempted the crossing from Libya to Italy. This is a marked increase on the 18,777 people who had crossed by this time last year.

Although 2016 was the deadliest year ever recorded on the Mediterranean — with 5,096 lives lost — there are fears that the 2017 death toll will rise even higher. Already (excluding the latest incident) some 587 people have died while attempting the journey.

Once again, European policy-makers will faced increased pressure to take more action to tackle people smuggling as summer approaches, and the number of crossings rises. But Cochetel warns that ‘defeating the business model of traffickers requires the existence of credible legal pathways for those in need of international protection, including through resettlement, family reunification programmes and private sponsorship.’

See: Treating refugees like burdens is folly – we should support their aspirations

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

2 Responses to “Over 200 migrants feared drowned off Libya – as 2017 promises to be even deadlier than 2016”

  1. Fred

    It’s worth remembering that the latest terrorist attack is a direct result of the last Labour Government’s illegal war in Iraq which magnified anti-British sentiment and create the vacuum into which IS stepped.

    It was the biggest foreign policy mistake in generations -brought to you by a Labour Government.

    Whilst we’re on the subject, the biggest scandal in the history of the NHS -mid-Staffordshire, implicated in the deaths of hundreds of patients, also happened under a Labour Government.

    The biggest rise in immigration -5 times that of historic levels- happened under a Labour Government, Immigration was so poorly managed and integrated that it created huge divisions in society that ultimately resulted in Brexit. Yes, Brexit was the fault of the last Labour Government.

    The rise in political correctness and moral cowardice, which resulted in the abuse scandal in Rotherham -brought to you by a Labour Government.

    “There’s no money left.” Wasteful spending and economic mismanagement, brought to you by a Labour Government.

    Hypocrisy. Dianne Abbot sends her son to a private school. Jeremy Corbyn’s son goes to a grammar school.

    Crackpot socialism. Quoting Chairman Mao in Parliament. “Not in favour of armed police” – Jeremy Corbyn. “The IRA should be given medals”, “”I would abolish MI5” – John McDonnell.

    A leader who is a terrible orator, has no charisma, can’t even dress smartly, not wanted by half his party.

    Now, over to you. Defend the Labour Party.

  2. john

    Fred has a point…the car crashes just carry on and throwing cash at problems will not solve them, like Rotherham…which is coming back to haunt and about to bite the good burghers of Rotherham on the arse…big time…as victims who have been treated terribly start to get vocal and ask questions about massive cash payments to lead council officers…refusal to help victims or hold officials to any account whatsoever…apart from paying them off with enormous wads of notes…really messy…

    An issue with refugee rescue is that the charities with ocean going boats hang out about 10 miles off the Libyan coast waiting for the rickety and ricketier boats to come to them and be picked up for the ride to Italy, 450 miles away, It could be argued that the charity boats are actually encouraging both the volume and the risky attempts to get to them…are the charities taking backhanders from the smugglers? are the charities the problem, as they do not drop off eg in Tunis(much safer than Libya) or Egypt but insist on going to Italy? who do the charity boats coordinate with? where is their funding from? carrying thousands of people every year into europe they should be upfront about being the primary migrant transport from north africa rather than deflecting the blame onto desperate people (who pay thousands of dollars for the trip) and evil people traffickers…where the real position is that they are the main traffickers…and as the little boats know where to get picked up…both the evil trafickers and charities must be in communication with each other…something is not being reported!

Leave a Reply