The UN Refugee Agency pleaded for “urgent action” to stem the humanitarian crisis of migrants trying to reach Europe.
More than 3,000 people died or disappeared in 2021 while attempting to reach Europe by sea, according to a new report from the agency. An additional 478 are dead or missing so far in 2022.
“Most of the sea crossings took place in packed, unseaworthy, inflatable boats – many of which capsized or were deflated leading to the loss of life,” the Friday report states.
The deaths come amid a dramatic rise in recent years of Africans desperate to reach Europe. Italy alone last year reported the arrival of 13,203 children by sea, most of them, 10,053, unaccompanied.
The migrants come from dozens of African nations, typically pouring through Mediterranean ports in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, and Atlantic harbors in Mauritania and Senegal.
Many of the victims die attempting to reach the Canary Islands, a Spanish territory off the coast of Morocco an open-sea journey that can take up to 10 days.
“Many boats have drifted off course or otherwise gone missing without a trace in these waters,” according to the UN Refugee Agency,
Desperate migrants also endure “unspeakable violations of their human rights” while attempting to reach Europe.
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