Migration: UNHCR wants rescue operations at sea stepped up

Deaths may rise, Italy's efforts praised

13 April, 15:17

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 13 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday expressed deep concern over the latest migrant deaths at sea in the Mediterranean. At least nine people lost their lives when the Italy-bound boat they were traveling in capsized. The UNHCR praised efforts by the Italian authorities, who over the past three days have rescued 5,500 migrants at sea. The UN body called on rescues at sea to be bolstered and that they be brought under EU management. The UNHCR noted that over 500 migrants had died at sea since the beginning of 2015, some 30 times higher than that seen in the same period last year. The UN agency said that this shows that more needs to be done to deal with current migratory trends in the region and that without sufficient monitoring, search and rescue operations at sea, many others will lose their lives in the attempt to reach Europe. It also urged that efforts be stepped up to ensure legal, safe alternatives for those fleeing conflict and persecution in order to prevent them from undertaking dangerous sea crossings.


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