At least 31 migrants drowned on Saturday off Libya’s coast after their boat capsized, Reuters has reported. According to a new UN report, the attempt to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe is “by far the world’s deadliest” journey for migrants.
Migrants ride a boat after they were rescued by the Libyan coastguard (July 2017) Photo Credit: EPA
Libyan officials said that at least 31 migrants drowned off the country’s western coast after their boat capsized on Saturday, according to Reuters. The officials added that about 200 others were rescued by the coastguard and returned to a port in Tripoli.
The migrants were trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe. According to reports, a number of children were among the dead.
A UN report that was released on Friday stated that the attempt to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe is “by far the world’s deadliest” journey for migrants. 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 report states that the highest number of fatalities during the period was recorded last year, when the Turkey-Greece route, which is a relatively short and less dangerous path, was closed down. “There appears to be a negative correlation between numbers of crossings and probability of dying during the journey: the larger the numbers, the lower the probability of dying,” the report explains. “Shutting the shorter and less dangerous routes can open longer and more dangerous routes, thus increasing the likelihood of dying at sea.”