31 refugees drown off Libya trying to reach Europe

Mediterranean crossing still world's deadliest for migrants

As Deutsche Welle writes in an article "Mediterranean "world's deadliest border" for migrants, says UN", although the number of deaths has dropped since record arrivals on European soil from 2014 to 2016, the risk of death during the journey has risen significantly, according to a United Nations report published by the IOM.

Professor Philippe Fargues of the European University Institute in Florence, author of the report, said the figures probably underestimated the actual scale of the human tragedy. Between 2000 and 2017, 33,761 migrants were reported to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean as they attempted to reach Europe.

The coastguard conducted two rescue operations off the city of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, spokesman Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri said.

"It concludes that Europe's Mediterranean border is by far the world's deadliest", he said. The announcement was not made yesterday because, when the press release was about to be published by the Libyan Navy and coast guards, the ship was still carrying out other rescue operations, according to officials. Almost 3,000 others are dead or missing, it said.

"Shutting the shorter and less risky routes can open longer and more unsafe routes, thus increasing the likelihood of dying at sea", said Fargues.

Mediterranean crossing still world's deadliest for migrants
Libya: 31 refugees drown off Libya trying to reach Europe

At least 30 migrants have died and 200 have been rescued after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Italy's coast guard said some 1,600 migrants were rescued from almost 20 vessels in the central Mediterranean.

However, authorities estimated that less than a third of the migrants arriving in Italy this year are seeking refuge, pointing to an increase in economic migrants, Fargues said.

The Rwandan government has decried the "tragedy now unfolding in Libya" after images emerged showing sub-Saharan migrants being sold as slaves in Libya.

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