Migrant Deaths at Sea



Migrants have been attempting the perilous journey across the sea towards Europe fleeing wars and crises in their own countries.  These people are in search of protection or economic opportunities, or both are risking their lives and dying while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.


Another day, another grim statistic about Illegal Migration. On September 2, a three-year-old boy died on a beach in Turkey as a boat carrying migrants capsized in an attempt to reach the Greek island of Kos.  The boy, hailing from Kobane in northern Syria, died along with his 5-year-old brother and their mother.  While their father survived, nine other people died.

Till date, as per International Organization for Migration, more than 2,600 migrants have lost their life in crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2015.  Many desperate people are put into decrepit ships by unscrupulous people-smugglers and forced to undertake a perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

This year 350,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by using a sea route as compared to the last year where this number was 219,000 for the whole of 2014.  Greece alone has seen an influx of 234,000 people land on its shores, as compared to 35,000 in the year 2014.  The authorities are finding it difficult to cope with these numbers.  The majority of these people cross to small islands situated kilometers from the Turkish coast.

Some 23,000 have arrived in the past week, which is 50% more than the previous week.  These migrants are fleeing from Syria and Afghanistan. Some of them will take up further journey towards north to seek asylum in countries like Germany, Sweden.  So far Germany expects at least 800,000 asylum-seekers this year as compared to 2014 that was 173,000.

Sea is not always the preferred mode of migration. Some cross overland through Serbia into Hungary, which allows free movement of people.  Hungary is now receiving more asylum applications relative to its population than any other EU country.

This made them take a hardline stance on migrants. For instance, Serbia has completed a fence along its border in August.  On September 3rd, the trains to Europe with migrants aboard were barred from leaving.  One train was allowed to set off for Austria but later on it was reportedly diverted to a detention center.

Source: Economist


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