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Mediterranean crossings deadlier than ever, say UNHCR

DEADLY CROSSING: More migrants and refugees are dying while attempting to make their way across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe

THE JOURNEY across the Mediterranean made by migrants and refugees is more deadly than ever, according to a new report by the UNHCR.

The UN Refugee Agency’s report, Desperate Journeys, looks at the rate of deaths for those crossing the Mediterranean Sea this year.

It shows that while the number of people arriving in Europe has decreased, the death rate for those that do attempt the dangerous crossings has risen sharply.

In the Central Mediterranean, one in every 18 people who embarked on the crossing died or went missing between January and July 2018.

During the same period in 2017, one in every 42 people who crossed died or went missing.

The UNHCR’s Director of the Bureau for Europe, Pascale Moreau, said: “This report once again confirms the Mediterranean as one of the world’s deadliest sea crossings.

“With the number of people arriving on European shores falling, this is no longer a test of whether Europe can manage the numbers, but whether Europe can muster the humanity to save lives.”

The UNHCR, the UN Migration Agency and IOM have all called for a predictable, regional approach to the rescue and disembarkation of people who find themselves in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.

The report also examines the risks that those fleeing their homelands face when travelling across land to or within Europe and urges countries to give refugees and asylum seekers access to the procedures required to process their status and secure their protection.

So far this year, it is estimated that more than 78 refugees and migrants have died along land routes in Europe or at the borders of countries on the continent. Last year the death toll for the same period was 45.

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