Article written

  • on 02.10.2014
  • at 05:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Mediterranean crossings more deadly a year after Lampedusa tragedy 0

Rome –The UN refugee agency reported on Thursday that new data on irregular crossings of the Mediterranean in the third quarter of the year show an alarming increase in the numbers of people perishing while attempting to make the journey to Europe.

A UNHCR statement said that the numbers were up substantially in both absolute and percentage terms. “In all, 90,000 people crossed to Europe between July 1 and September 30 and at least 2,200 lost their lives, compared to 75,000 people and 800 deaths for the period between January 1 and June 30. In other words, a person making the journey in the first half of the year faced a 1.06 per cent chance of losing their life, while the odds for someone crossing in the third quarter more than doubled to 2.4 per cent,” the refugee agency said.

In all, 165,000 people have made the crossing so far this year compared to 60,000 for all of 2013 –making 2014 a record year and reflecting the level of desperation among many of those involved.

UNHCR said that, in light of the dangers, it was reiterating its call for Europe to commit more resources for rescue at sea in the Mediterranean and step up efforts to provide legal alternatives to dangerous voyages. “The collective response needs to maintain a strong capacity to rescue people at sea and increase safer ways for refugees to find safety in Europe. If Europe fails in these efforts, many more lives will continue to be lost, and incidents such as the disasters off Lampedusa a year ago this week will become more common,” it added.

“We are failing to heed the lessons from the terrible events of last October, and more and more refugees are drowning trying to reach safety. EU [European Union] countries must work together to continue and bolster the vital task – which has been mostly carried out by Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation, but also by commercial vessels – of rescuing people at sea,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

continue reading on UNHCR

Click here to view the UNHCR Report: “So close, yet so far from safety”


Photo credit: UNHCR / A. Di Loreto


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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi