Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean: What can be done?

By Carolina Montenegro and Kristy Siegfried (IRIN)

A boat carrying migrants arrives in Lampedusa from Libya (file photo).  Photo:  Kate Thomas/IRIN

LAMPEDUSA/OXFORD, 15 April 2015 (IRIN) - With Italian authorities rescuing 8,500 migrants in the Mediterranean over the weekend and reports up to 400 may have perished, there can be no doubt that an unprecedented summer surge in migrant sea crossings is already under way.

Wars are raging on in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, and chaos is spreading in Libya - the main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. Aid agencies have been warning for months that unless urgent action is taken, migrant deaths at sea in 2015 will exceed last year’s dismal record of 3,500.

The situation is worse this year because less assistance is available to migrant boats in distress. The Italian navy’s search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was suspended in November 2014 after saving more than 150,000 lives and has not been replaced by anything with the same geographical reach and capacity. 

Original article in Irin News

 

ARRIVALS BY SEA IN ITALY (JANUARY - MARCH 2015)

Main Nationalities

#

Men

Women

Minors

AM

UAM

Gambia

1,413

1,270

8

135

4

131

Senegal

1,187

1,143

1

43

1

42

Somalia

1,107

715

210

182

47

135

Syria

1,056

769

109

178

171

7

Mali

991

926

4

61

2

59

Eritrea

906

588

184

134

17

117

Nigeria

873

771

78

24

4

20

Total

10,165

8,591

672

902

289

613