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Mediterranean - a deadly sea for refugees passing to Europe.

CENEVRE (CyHAN)- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said this year is proving to be particularly deadly for people crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. The agency said over 2,500 lives have been lost so far in 2016 compared to 1,855 in the same period in 2015 and just 57 in the first five months of 2014.

UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler said the numbers highlighted "the importance of rescue operations as part of the response to the movement of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean, and the need for real, safer alternatives for people needing international protection."

UNHCR said a series of shipwrecks and capsizings last week on the Mediterranean now appeared to have claimed at least 880 lives. In addition, information received from people who landed in the Italian coastal town Augusta over the weekend revealed 47 people were missing after a raft carrying 125 people from Libya deflated.

So far this year, 203,981 people have made the journey across the Mediterranean the majority traveling from Turkey to Greece before the end of March. The North Africa-Italy route is dramatically more dangerous. Over two thousands of the deaths reported so far this year have been among people making this journey.

According to survivors, smuggler hubs operating in locations including Niger remain active in transporting people from West Africa to Libya, where many remain for months before being put onto boats to make the journey. Reports of trauma from sexual and other forms of gender-based violence among women making the journey -- or being trafficked -- appear common. Some women have said that they were subject to sexual slavery in Libya. There has also been an increase in the arrival of unaccompanied children.

DESCRIPTION

STORY: GENEVA / MEDITERRANEAN DEATHS

TRT: 1:46

SOURCE: UNTV CH

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 31 MAY 2016 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST

1. Aerial shot, Palais des Nations

31 MAY 2016 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Med shot, journalists

3. SOUNDBITE (English) William Spindler, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comission for Refugees (UNHCR):

"Thus far 2016 is proving to be particularly deadly. Some 2,510 lives have been lost so far compared to 1,855 in the same period in 2015 and 57 in the first five months of 2014. On a Mediterranean-wide basis, the odds of being among the dead are currently one in 81. This highlights the importance of rescue operations as part of the response to the movement of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean, and the need for real, safer alternatives for people needing international protection."

4. Med shot, journalists

5. SOUNDBITE (English) William Spindler, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comission for Refugees (UNHCR):

"UNHCR is working to better understand the possible reasons and dynamics behind these movements. The majority of boats departing Libya are at present reported to be leaving from the Sabratah area to the west of Tripoli. And as in the past they remain more crowded than those that have normally been seen on the Turkey-Greece route, often carrying 600 or more passengers, and sometimes being towed by larger fishing boats which in turn puts them at risk."

6. Med shot, journalists

7. SOUNDBITE (English) William Spindler, Spokesperson, United Nations High Comission for Refugees (UNHCR):

"According to survivors, smuggler hubs operating in locations including Niger remain active in feeding people from West Africa through to Libya, where many remain for many months before being put onto boats for the crossing to Europe. Reports of trauma from sexual and other forms of gender-based violence among women making the journey -- or being trafficked -- appear common."

8. Med shot, journalists

Cihan CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Jun 2, 2016
Words:612
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