Drowning of 27 migrants in the English Channel is the worst disaster ever: IOM — Global Issues

The incident was the largest loss of life in the English Channel since the UN migration agency IOM began logging in 2014.

Another On Wednesday alone, 106 migrants were rescued in French waters.

risk everything

More and more people are trying to make the journey in small, unseaworthy boats while fleeing conflict, poverty or persecution in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Eritrea and elsewhere.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 166 migrants have been registered dead or missing in the English Channel since 2014 and 22,930 dead or missing in the Mediterranean.

European tragedy

UNHCR says an estimated 1,600 people have died or disappeared in the Mediterranean this year while trying to reach Europe from North African states or Turkey. Hundreds more have died in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa on a migrant route to Spain’s Canary Islands.

Since the start of the year, more than 31,000 people have attempted the dangerous crossing between France and the UK and 7,800 have been rescued at sea, French authorities said.

Before Wednesday’s tragedy, 14 people have drowned trying to reach the UK this year, a French maritime official said. Last year, a total of seven people were killed and two disappeared in the English Channel.

Search and rescue call

In July, IOM Director-General António Vitorino called for “urgent and proactive steps” to reduce the loss of life of migrants traveling to Europe via dangerous sea routes.

His appeal followed a sharp rise in deaths in the first six months of the year and thereafter AnAt least 1,146 people died trying to reach Europe by boatfrom January to June, the UN Migration Office said.

“Increasing search and rescue efforts, establishing predictable disembarkation mechanisms and ensuring access to safe and legal migration routes,” the IOM director general insisted.

canary omen

In September, the IOM reported a sharp increase in the deaths and disappearances of migrants at sea en route to Spain’s Canary Islands, along the West African coast. By the end of September, 785 people, including 177 women and 50 children, had died or disappeared by 2021.

Among the UN’s recommendations to states to prevent further tragedies, UNHCR has reiterated the importance of continuing to raise awareness of the risks of sea crossings and of the false information given by smugglers who take advantage of the needs of children, women and men who have left their country. home countries.

The development of legal and secure channels such as family reunification visas is critical to ensuring the safety of migrants, the UN agency stressed.

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