Italy rescues almost 2,500 asylum-seekers in Mediterranean over three days as trips and deaths surge
- The Italian Coast Guard pulled 1,100 from nine vessels in one day following the rescue of 1,360 in the previous two days as migrant deaths are up by more than 330% over 2016.
- More than 10,700 have crossed the Mediterranean in the first months of 2017, an increase of a third over 2016.
- Recently, Italy and the U.N. agreed to fund migrant camps, Coast Guard training, and anti-smuggling efforts in Libya to stem the flow of migrants into southern Europe, a move criticized by humanitarian groups because of Libya’s political insecurity and harsh treatment of migrants.
“Italy says 2,500 boat migrants rescued at sea in three days” (Reuters | February 2017)
“Migrant Fatalities Surge on Libya-Italy Mediterranean Route” (Voice of America | February 2017)
“Can E.U. Shift Migrant Crisis to the Source? In Libya, the Odds Are Long” (The New York Times | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via Voice of America)
At least 700 migrants and refugees die in last week along trans-Mediterranean route
- The UNHCR concluded from survivor interviews that some 550 of 670 died after a boat capsized on its way to Italy from Libya, with other scattered wrecks throughout the week leading to at least 150 other deaths.
- As warmer temperatures have created more favorable travel conditions, an estimated 13-14,000 have been rescued over the last week during Italian naval operations in the Mediterranean.
- The U.N. believes most of those making the trek have been sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees caught up in smuggling networks.
“Over 700 Migrants Died Trying to Reach Italy in Past Week, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
“More than 700 feared dead in recent Mediterranean crossings” (AP)
“Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Marina Militare, via The New York Times)
Black in North Africa
Like the color it purports to name, the social label black absorbs, integrates, and obscures distinct but interrelated phenomena: a skin tone of context-dependent shade, a racial classification from bygone times, an ethnic designation, a class marker, an immigration status, an ancestry, a cultural heritage, and an index of historical wrongs still fresh in memory. Black has often served as shorthand for of African descent, but perhaps nowhere most complicates that substitution than a region on the continent itself: North Africa. Continue reading Citations: Black in North Africa
As many as 500 may have died in migrant boat sinking in Mediterranean
- The U.N. refugee agency indicated as many as 500 may have died after a boat carrying mostly African migrants and refugees capsized between Libya and Italy, according to interviews with 41 survivors.
- If verified, the incident would be the largest migrant tragedy on record since the April 2015 sinking that killed more than 800 migrants.
- Smugglers have returned to dangerous trans-Mediterranean routes between Libya and Italy following a recent deal between the E.U. and Turkey to stem migration in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Survivors report massive loss of life in latest Mediterranean Sea tragedy” (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees press release)
“Hundreds feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya” (The Guardian)
“500 May Have Died in Sinking of Migrant Boat in Mediterranean, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Nikitas Kotsiaris/EPA, via The New York Times)
January sees record number of migrant deaths in eastern Mediterranean
- To date, there have been 218 deaths as migrants have crossed the Aegean Sea to reach Greek shores, a number not reached until mid-September in 2015.
- The spike in deaths comes as the overall number of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe has reached its lowest point since June 2015.
- The migration shift occurs as a changing of the guard has taken place among people-smugglers in North Africa, with the brief calm in traffic from Libya having recently given way to a fresh, more lethal round.
“Mediterranean deaths soar as people-smugglers get crueler: IOM” (Reuters)
“Mapped: The Refugee Crisis in the Aegean Sea” (Foreign Policy)
“Protests at Greek border after more migrants drown in Aegean Sea” (AP, via The Chicago Tribune)
(Image Credit: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters)
More than 50 Tunisians return home from Libya following abduction
- Security sources reported 55 Tunisians were released and returned home following coordination with Libyan officials.
- The Tunisians had been abducted from northwest Libya in retaliation for the arrest of a Libyan official on a UN-coordinated visit in Tunisia.
- Tunisians in Libya have been vulnerable in the country’s instability, with 10 having been abducted from the Tunisian consulate before being released.
“Dozens of Tunisians freed in Libya a day after being kidnapped” (Reuters)
“Dozens of Tunisian workers held by gunmen in Libya, families say” (Gulf News)
The NY Times has published a graphically enhanced look at the global migration crisis that is being called the worst since World War II
- 38 million have been displaced within their own countries, while 16.7 million refugees have fled internationally.
- Roughly 11 million Syrians and 3 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, while 4 million Syrians have left the country, straining the intake abilities of neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.
- Approximately 25,000 Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants have been trafficked via sea in Southeast Asia, some finding conditional acceptance in Indonesia and Malaysia and others being repatriated.
- To date, around 78,000 have traveled across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa and Turkey, fleeing violence, persecution, and poor economic prospects in North, West, and East Africa.
- Finally, the conflict in Ukraine has displaced 1.3 million inside the country and sent 867,000 abroad, mostly to Russia with few European countries willing to accept them.
More on this story at The New York Times.