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More migrants feared drowned as deaths continue to rise

22 September 2017

At least 50 migrants are feared to have drowned after their dinghy ran out of fuel and capsized while setting off from Libya to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing into Italian waters. The small boat was reported to have been carrying at least 100 people before it drifted and capsized, and was washed back to shore. 

The latest deaths come as the United Nations International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reports that an estimated 22,500-plus migrants have died or disappeared globally since 2014, with more than half dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. The number of migrants and refugees dying while making the crossing from North Africa into European waters has been rising, while the overall number of arrivals has been dropping. The IOM says that the death rate for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean has risen from 1.2 per 100 in 2016 to 2.1 per 100 this year. It adds that the central Mediterranean route into Italian waters “accounts only for about a quarter of almost 1.5 million people who have arrived since 2014 on all routes, but for 88 percent of all migrant deaths in the Mediterranean”.

One reason for the rise in deaths is that the people smugglers who organise the trade are increasingly using less seaworthy vessels.



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