EU: Migrant deaths in central Mediterranean rise

2017-02-16 06:12
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Brussels - The chief of the European border and coast guard agency says migrant deaths in the Mediterranean on the Libya-to-Italy smuggling route have increased to a record level despite ever more rescue vessels trying to prevent mass drownings.

Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said on Wednesday "we face a kind of sad paradox" that as the international community increases efforts to send more rescue ships close to Libya, smuggling rings pack ever more people onto unseaworthy boats and push them out toward the open sea.

He said the recorded number of migrant drowning deaths last year 4 579 might be much less than the true loss of life. He says this "is tragic and the reasons are well known: the number of migrants now (arriving) on very small dinghies."

Read more on:    frontex  |  belgium  |  migrants

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