Nearly 40 migrants are believed to have died in a fresh migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean, international aid group Save the Children said yesterday (Tuesday), according to media reports.
While the exact number is not yet known, the deaths, if confirmed, would come less than a month after an estimated 800 migrants drowned in one of the deadliest incidents in the region.
The latest disaster is believed to have occurred in the sea between Libya and Sicily on Sunday, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Survivors reportedly said that “dozens” of their fellow passengers fell out of a migrant boat and drowned even as a commercial vessel approached to rescue them. Details of the accident are not yet clear.
Most migrants travelling to Italy are from impoverished nations like Eritrea, Mali and Nigeria.
They travel through Africa to reach Libya, where they are forced to cross the Mediterranean in hazardous conditions in overcrowded boats by so-called “people smugglers.”
However, people fleeing conflicts in other parts of Africa and the Middle East have added to the number of migrants attempting to reach Europe.
This has resulted in nearly 1,750 migrants dying while crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year alone — a number 30 times higher than during the same period in 2014.