A humanitarian group, Save the Children, has deplored the continued death of migrants using the Mediterranean route with the hope of reaching Europe. This was contained in a statement released today.
According to the group’s leader, Roger Alonso, who is on board a search and rescue vessel, the Vos Hestia, what his team saw on their mission was nothing but horrific. “There are no words to describe the horrific events we have witnessed over the past 24 hours,’‘ he said.
Save the Children also expressed concern over the European Union’s (EU) policy of protecting their borders rather than seeking the welfare of refugees. They are of the view that loss of lives at sea brought to the fore, a negative impact of the policy.
So far, 2016 has been the deadliest year on record for those crossing the Mediterranean, and if the number of causalities from the latest shipwreck is confirmed, more than 4,100 people will have died trying to make it to Europe from North Africa.
“This needless loss of life highlights the perverse impact of current EU policy, which is focused on protecting borders rather than providing to refugees and migrants, especially those most vulnerable, legal and safe ways to reach sanctuary in our countries,” Alonso added.
The group related how the mother of two children died leaving behind the two very young children. The children were part of over 100 people who were rescued by the Vos Hestia.
Thursday’s rescue came less than 24 hours after more than 240 migrants and refugees are believed to have drowned when two rubber dinghies capsized off the North African coast, survivors told Save the Children. Only 29 people out of the at least 270 people believed to have been on board the two dinghies were pulled alive from the water.
Save the Children’s position on migrants trying to reach Europe has been that the EU must provide safe and legal routes to the continent, such as resettlement, humanitarian visas and other forms of humanitarian admissions, which should help to ensure minimum standards of protection, especially for children.
‘‘So far, 2016 has been the deadliest year on record for those crossing the Mediterranean, and if the number of causalities from the latest shipwreck is confirmed, more than 4,100 people will have died trying to make it to Europe from North Africa.
‘‘The journey is so dangerous that the likelihood of dying while trying to make the crossing is now 1 for every 45 arrivals.
‘‘Save the Children has rescued more than 1,300 people, including more than 200 children, and is continuing to conduct its life saving-operations to help prevent more people losing their lives at sea,’‘ their statement concluded.
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. Save the Children comprises Save the Children International and 30 members.