More Than 2,500 Died or Went Missing in the Mediterranean This Year: UN

More than 102,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean from Tunisia in 2023 so far in 2023 – a stunning 260% increase from last year.

Over 2,500 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean so far in 2023 while trying to cross into Europe, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Thursday in New York.

That is a stark increase from the 1,680 dead or missing migrants in the same period last year.

Migrants and refugees “risk death and gross human rights violations at every step”, Ruven Menikdiwela, director of the UNHCR New York office, told the Security Council.

This comes on the same day when European Union interior ministers met in Brussels to discuss how to handle people migrating to Europe by sea amid growing concern from member states Italy and Germany.

Member states and the European Parliament have been negotiating for years on far-reaching reforms to the bloc’s common asylum system but without results.

What did the UN say?

Some 186,000 people have already arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea between January and September 24 of this year, according to the UNHCR.

Of this, 130,000 have arrived in Italy, marking an 83% increase compared to last year. Others landed in Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Malta.

As for the origin of the migrants, 102,000 crossed the Mediterranean from Tunisia and another 45,000 from Libya.

Roughly 31,000 people were rescued at sea or intercepted and disembarked in Tunisia and 10,600 in Libya, Menikdiwela said.

Menikdiwela reminded the Security Council that the land journey from sub-Saharan African countries, where many migrants originate, to the departure points on the coast of Libya and Tunisia “remains one of the world’s most dangerous”.

“Lives are also lost on land, away from public attention,” Menikdiwela said.

This article was originally published on DW.