The Mediterranean is becoming more dangerous for migrants who try to cross it in small boats conceived by smugglers. According to the latest data from the UN refugee agency, 3,231 people died on this route last year, much more than a year earlier.
Last year’s figures are comparable to those of 2014, but then the total number of migrants was twice as much as today. According to the UNHCR, people are mostly fleeing conflict, violence and persecution, although there are those who travel for a better life.
Most of the migrants on the Mediterranean route are from countries where the war is going on—these are the states of East Africa and the Horn of Africa region.
However, not only the sea poses a threat to the lives of these people—land routes are no less dangerous. Graphs developed by UNHCR specialists allow to see the situation in dynamics. For example, in 2014, 2,00,000 people moved from Africa to Europe, and in 2015, this figure reached a peak level of more than a million.
After that, statistics showed a steady decline, especially with the onset of the pandemic. However, already in 2020, smugglers adapted to the new conditions, and the next year the curve crept up.
In a statement, UNHCR has called on the international community to protect the lives of migrants and proposed an updated strategy. It is urging for expanding humanitarian assistance, providing support in the field of human rights and other measures.
The UN agency’s experts recommend that states must provide a safe alternative by opening up pathways for legal migration. It is also encouraging countries to protect the rights of people rescued in the Mediterranean.