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Fears that 30,000 migrants could die crossing Mediterranean in 2015


Italy

Fears that 30,000 migrants could die crossing Mediterranean in 2015

A dire warning has been issued as survivors of Sunday’s shipwreck arrived in Sicily, after a disaster that left up to 900 people dead.

It is feared that if Mediterranean migrant deaths continue at the same rate, more than 30,000 people could drown before the year is through.

The warning comes from the International Organisation for Migration.

From the United Nations Refugee Agency too, the statistics are grim.

“April 2015 has truly been the cruellest month, the highest numbers that we have seen for deaths in any month on the Mediterranean,” UNHCR Spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva.

“We have had so far this year 1,776 reported dead on the Mediterranean.”

Europe is soul-searching after this worst such tragedy in living memory.

Only 28 people survived Sunday’s disaster off Libya.

But the Red Cross has stressed that shipwrecks are nothing new.

“As often happens, we have had to count hundreds of deaths in order to awaken public attention to a phenomenon that has been going on for 20 years non-stop, involving our country and our continent,” Italian Red Cross President Francesco Rocca told reporters in Catania on Sicily.

“And thus far European institutions have never provided answers in a coordinated and efficient way.”

As solutions are sought, migrants fleeing poverty and persecution continue to pile into rickety boats to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

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