Migration Through the Mediterranean Picks Up, Death Toll Doubles

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Migration via the Mediterranean Sea is picking up again after considerably fewer people tried to make the crossing to Europe last year due to the corona pandemic.

 

In the first half of this year, nearly 76,000 people attempted it, 58 percent more than in the same period last year. The death toll also more than doubled to 896, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Geneva organization reports that North African countries have stopped nearly 37 percent more migrants from travelling to Europe, where they hope to build a better future. Most of the migrants who perished died on their way to Italy. The route via that southern European country is considered the most popular.

The figures differ greatly from those of a year ago. That is because in 2020, due to the pandemic, fewer people tried to make the perilous trip to Europe. In the first half of 2020, this was a decrease of 17 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

The migrants often use boats that are unseaworthy and overcrowded. Many vessels capsize or threaten to tip over. Some migrants are brought to safety in a timely manner by private rescue organizations operating in the Mediterranean. However, that help is limited. Nine out of ten ships are usually unable to sail due to blockages.

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