After the latest shipwreck this past weekend, so far in 2017 a total of 340 people have died attempting to reach European shores through the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
IOM added that the fatalities are 250 more compared to the same period in 2016, and the majority of these migrants are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Gambia, the same as in 2016.
At least 74 bodies of migrants who tried to travel along the Libya-Italy smuggling route were found along the seashore near Libya’s northern coastal town of Zawiya, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Tuesday.
IFRC said that the bodies were found by Libyan Red Crescent volunteers on Feb. 20.
According to IOM, some of the migrants who made it to Europe and share their ordeal, revealed that their journey was far more dangerous than expected.
“Many are unaware of the dangers and risks of migrating with the assistance of smugglers, not only at sea or in the desert, but also in transit countries like Libya,” IOM said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Recalling the life-threatening risks along their journey is often distressing and in many instances, most migrants wish to forget and move forward with their lives and therefore tend not to share their experience with peers who are still back home, the statement said.
In order to fill the information gap between expectation and reality, IOM has launched an Aware Migrants campaign last year with support from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, so as to inform migrants from 15 countries about the dangers of migrating irregularly across the Sahara desert, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. Enditem