Three boat accidents on the
Mediterranean over the past five days
have claimed over 300 lives, causing a
total of 1,889 deaths this year, the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told
journalists that the number of people who
have lost their lives when crossing the
Mediterranean spiked this summer, with
1,600 deaths reported since the start of
Fleming said that many of those risking
lives at sea were refugees fleeing wars,
conflicts and persecution in an attempt to
seek shelter in Europe.
Most immigrants came from Libya, the
UN refugee agency said, citing a
worsening security situation and a
growth of smuggling operations.
This was followed by Eritreans, Syrians
UNHCR said urgent action needed to be
taken, including finding legal alternatives
to dangerous boat journeys. It urged for
procedures to be put in place to allow for
identifying the bodies recovered at sea.
UNHCR statistics showed estimated deaths
and people missing in irregular crossings
through the Mediterranean to Europe
were 1,500 in 2011, 500 in 2012, and over
600 in 2013.
Out of the over 124,000 estimated arrivals
in Europe so far this year, the majority
landed in Italy with more than 108,000 as
of Aug. 24 (