Kenya: Mediterranean Sea migrant arrivals hit 81,000

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 81,292 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 18 June, with 85 per cent arriving in Italy.

The remainder are divided among Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 215,702 arrivals across the region through 18 June, 2016, the UN migration agency said in a news dispatch Tuesday.

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that at least 4,860 migrants have been rescued off the North African coast since Friday.

Some of them were being brought to shore on Monday (19 June), and therefore have not been included in the  count.

Di Giacomo also reported that IOM staff in Palermo recorded testimonies from survivors of this latest shipwreck on Monday.

A dinghy carrying 130 migrants sailed from Libya on Thursday. After several hours at sea,
the survivors say a group of Libyan smugglers, they called  ''pirates'', reached the dinghy and stole the craft’s engine.

After drifting for a while, the boat capsized. Some Libyan fishermen were able to rescue only four survivors (two Sudanese nationals and two Nigerians) and put them on another dinghy bound for Italy which was in the same area.

The second dinghy was rescued by European patrol ships and brought to Palermo by the Italian Coast Guard ship CP941, which brought a total of 1,096 migrants to shore.

According to survivors, the overwhelming majority of missing migrants was made up of Sudanese nationals.

Late Monday, IOM Rome reported that seven more migrants were feared missing and that the Italian coast guards were bringing survivors to Messina.

Another landing of survivors in Reggio Calabria brought news that one boat with approximately 85 men, women and children on board was spotted by others who managed to tread water.

It is believed that some survived and were rescued by the Libyan coast guard. The victims are said to be families with children whose nationalities include Moroccan and Syrian.

With these latest reports, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) notes that the total deaths on the Mediterranean this year are now approaching 2,000, and will have passed that mark if reports from Libya confirm a second or third shipwreck, the agency says.

Although 2,000 is fewer than the number of deaths that were recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,000.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that on 16 June, 775 migrants (678 men, 82 women and 15 children) were rescued by the Azzawya branch of the Libyan Coast Guard off Sabrath.

The remains of eight men and women were retrieved in the Al Mutred area, west of Azzawya. One of the bodies was retrieved by citizens of the town and the rest by the Libyan Red Crescent.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 20June2017

20 june 2017 13:57:20

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