Six people died every day last year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe – “the world’s deadliest sea crossing” – the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Wednesday, citing ongoing political deadlock over sea rescue and disembarkation.
According to a new report from the agency, an estimated 2,275 individuals drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018.
This is despite the fact that Europe saw the lowest number of refugees and migrants arriving for five years, at 139,300, principally Spain (65,400), Greece (50,500) and Italy (23,400).
“Saving lives at sea is not a choice, nor a matter of politics, but an age-old obligation,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “We can put an end to these tragedies by having the courage and vision to look beyond the next boat, and adopt a long-term approach based on regional cooperation, that places human life and dignity at its core.”