The UN announced this week said that 2016 has become the deadliest year on record for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, with an estimated 3,800 deaths so far.
About 100 people are feared missing after a boat sank off the coast of Libya, amid mounting evidence that already dangerous conditions are worsening for migrants crossing the Mediterranean sea to get to #Europe.
General Ayoub Qassem, a spokesman for the Libyan navy, said on Thursday that a boat carrying 126 people from the port of Garabulli had sunk after being hit by high waves, and that only 20 people had been rescued.
The UN’s grim assessment for 2016 came almost exactly three years after the death of hundreds of migrants off the coast of Italy prompted European leaders to promise “decisive measures” to stem the humanitarian crisis. At the time, a group of European interior ministers said the deaths were a “wake-up call”.
The UN refugee agencies and other aid groups have said that the already-treacherous sea journey to Italy, which is more dangerous than the route to Greece, has deteriorated, in part because people-smugglers are using even flimsier inflatable rafts than they were before. The vessels are being overloaded with people – sometimes thousands at a time – making rescues riskier and more difficult.