Refugee crisis: More than 100 asylum seekers drown as boat sinks in the Mediterranean Sea

Disaster comes day after more than 550 migrants rescued between Libya and Italy More than 100 refugees have drowned after a boat sank in rough conditions in the Mediterranean Sea as the crisis shows no sign

Disaster comes day after more than 550 migrants rescued between Libya and Italy

More than 100 refugees have drowned after a boat sank in rough conditions in the Mediterranean Sea as the crisis shows no sign of slowing.

The Italian Navy was searching for survivors from the vessel, which was believed to be carrying up to 110 people.

Only four survivors were pulled from the water, with at least eight bodies found so far.
Flavio Di Giacomo, from the International Organisation for Migration, told The Independent around 106 people were thought to have died and described the conditions at sea as “extremely bad”.

The boat went down in waters between Libya and Italy, which has become the deadliest sea crossing in the world since the start of the refugee crisis.

It claimed the vast majority of more than 5,000 lives lost in treacherous boat journeys to Europe in 2016, the deadliest year on record, with people drowning or being crushed or suffocated in overcrowded smugglers’ boats.

Saturday’s disaster was the worst single incident so far this year, which has already seen at least 122 deaths at sea.

Rescue workers warn that the crisis is showing no sign of slowing in the Central Mediterranean, which has become the main route since the EU-Turkey deal was implemented in March to reduce comparatively shorter and safer crossings over the Aegean Sea.

At least 550 refugees were rescued on Friday alone off the coast of Libya, where continuing conflict and lawlessness since the British-backed defeat of Muammar Gaddafi has allowed the smuggling and exploitation of migrants to thrive.

Two people were found dead at the bottom of one of the four boats saved and the bodies of four other migrants were found off the coast of Spain. Several asylum seekers have also died in the extreme weather conditions gripping much of Europe in recent weeks.

More than 5,000 refugees were drowned, suffocated or crushed while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean seas in 2016, making it the deadliest year on record.

Many deaths are thought to go unrecorded, with bodies either disappearing or washing up on the shores of Libya, where authorities do not routinely release casualty figures. Some boats are sighted by Italian authorities but disappear before they can be reached by rescue ships.

 The Unravelling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis (Medmig) project partly blamed Britain and EU nations for rocketing death rates, concluding that the refusal to open up legal routes for those seeking safety in Europe has increased demand for people smuggling on ever more dangerous routes.Operations to combat the thriving trade have driven the use of smaller and less seaworthy boats to cross the Mediterranean, which are harder to spot by ships patrolling as part of the EU’s Operation Sophia and authorities in north Africa.

Poorly made dinghies are now being loaded with more than 150 people a time, creating the risk of sinkings, capsizings or the inflatable bursting under the strain, as well as deadly fuel spills.

More than 1,600 migrants and refugees have arrived by sea in Europe so far this year. The vast majority of those arriving in Italy are African, from countries including Nigeria, Eritrea and Guinea, while most of the much lower number of asylum seekers reaching Greek islands are Syrian, Afghan or Iraqi.

The Independent

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8 COMMENTS
  • Girma January 14, 2017

    Is this one of the “fruits” of Ghedli? Was the fifty years of madness to be “free” from Ethiopia for this?
    How foolish were the elite leaders of Jebha and Shaebia, including the Sabbes, Adems, Issaias and the rest of the Abeeds who taught – we were more Arab than the Arabs?

  • Samsom Agazi January 14, 2017

    This is the legacy of evil savage ghedli Eritrea. Twenty six yrs and they managed to turn us, people with proud history, people who managed to keep three “pure Habesha” civilization in perfect harmony, into boat people, refugees, desert market. And there is a doctor in training, waiting, learning, hoping, to continue their evil savage ghedli legacy. Could they create another ghost nation on Mars to just complement the one on earth??
    .
    For over half a century a confused criminal group, known as “Ghedli” wrecked havoc in Eritrea. It played with the lives of the people for a cause which is not compatible to what the current people known as “Agazians” are. At the forefronts of this mayhem and destruction is the “students from Cairo” mostly rootless immigrant evil moslems who formed the criminal barbaric Islamic savage ELF who had this delusional belief that Eritrea is part of the savage evil barbarian moslem Arab world.
    .
    The PFDJ which is the by product of these poisonous cancerous moslem Arab dogs and group has accelerated the bleeding of the poor “nation” to such a degree, it seems that no amount of transfusion would be able to save poor Eritrea unless we realize that the whole “Ghedli” concept was a movement against Eritreans and their interests and not against colonialism. It was a shefatu/banditry adventure to colonize a free people and not to “liberate” an already free people.
    .
    At this point we need an urgent about U-turn and go back from where we started, redefine ourselves and our problems (without the shefatu/bandits of evil-ghedli) and aggressively apply the necessary treatment to save us from extinction. Time to get real and to face the harsh reality on the ground.

  • hidat January 15, 2017

    GIRMAN SAMSON AGAZIN YIREDAIKUM AYREDIKUM TIFATKUM (WEYENTI )AKILU EYU..DERGI AB MIWIDAKU ETHIOPIAWIAN BISIM FELASHA AGIZU MIS WEDEA WEDIKU:…………..HIGI KEA WEYANE KAB MEASKERAT KAB DEKI 15-17 EDME ZELEWOM ERTRAWIAN ETIOPIAWIAN SOMALAWIAN (voa) KEGEZU YIKARAREBU ALEWU YAIEE MIHRO YIXEBEYOM ALO AB ADI TILIAN (XEBUK )TIMIHRU MEMHIREY DEA KEIKEWIN IMBER. tarik yidigem eyu zibahl haki eyu hade kiridakum zelewo gin kulu eritrawi ab zihalewe yihalu KUL GIZIE ERTRAWI EYU. ETI GEDLI SIRHU SILE ZEYKUREXEE .

  • Z, Hagos January 15, 2017

    Girma, Samson Agazi and other non-Eritreans,
    Please let our discussions be focused. You silence will show your maturities. You may join us when discussing issues related to Ethiopia. By the way, your repeated talks sound like a broken disc making no sense. If you would care, people are dying in the seas while crossing for safety. At least show your sympathies if you have a human blood in your bodies.
    ..
    From your posts, it is clear you are not even for Isaias. If you were you would have some ideas to defend him rather than going crazy saying nonsense things. I think, if I am not wrong, you must be of 10 to 12 years age. No idea about the world. No idea about life. No idea about the problems of human beings. And as kids, you need to be guided.

    • AHMED SALEH !!! January 16, 2017

      God for bid if some of the dead happened to be Ethiopians , they may react in denial
      to call them African refugees .
      ZEMENE GRINBIT ZEMENE AKAHIDA ZEMXEOM BAETATAT BIHIZBI YIXAWETU ALEWU

    • andom January 16, 2017

      These are a few who are suffering from identity crises. Either we made them feel that way or it just happened to them as a fallout of the separation of eritrea from ethiopia. They are half eritrean half ethiopian or ethiopians born in eritrea. When i say ethiopians, i mean tigrayans. Again it emanates from ignorance b/s no human being is less human being if the rule of law prevails in eritrea and ethiopia.

  • andom January 16, 2017

    These individuals are feeling rejected by ethiopians and eritreans somehow. Lets ignore them.

    • Girma January 18, 2017

      I thought they were “half Arab and more Arab than the Arabs” who hate their own Tigre Tigrinya languages?

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