Scores of Migrants heading for Europe are believed to have perished in the Mediterranean Sea as their boat capsized in the dark of night just miles off the coast of Libya on Wednesday. The vessel was carrying about 700 migrants attempting to access the relative safety of European shores.
An estimated 25 bodies have already been recovered from the scene of the disaster in an ongoing search and rescue operation, with hundreds more still feared missing. The incident is reminiscent of a similar tragedy of parallel proportions reported by the Inquisitr in April when many migrants lost their lives en route from Libya to Italy.
According to the UNHCR, the boat, crammed on one side with migrants desperate to draw the attention of a nearby Irish naval vessel, capsized after having transmitted numerous distress signals prior to the incident. The Italian Coast Guard claims to have successfully rescued nearly 400 people as the search for more survivors continues. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported that as many as 180,000 migrants, most notably from African and Middle Eastern countries, have been rescued from these waters during the course of the year.
According to a report published recently by the UN monitoring agency FRONTEX, as many as five crossing routes are invariably employed, but the more frequently traveled ones are scarcely monitored and allow for a favorable nesting ground for local human traffickers. These conditions, among other factors, have contributed immensely to the magnitude of the crisis. Of the various routes, the Central Mediterranean Passage remains one of the more precarious transit paths for migrants in the world.
An estimated 2000 migrants are reported to have succumbed to the treacherous depths of the Mediterranean this year alone, with as many as 3000 reported fatalities in the previous year. Many of these hapless migrants endure increasingly perilous, ostensibly interminable journeys across these waters while confronting deadly odds. They journey, oblivious to the perils of circumstance and desperate to flee their fractured, conflict-ridden regions. These often impoverished human beings are tempted by a generous vision of a promising future and nervously foresee a viable existence in a land of fresh opportunities.
Projected as one of the largest waves of mass immigration since the Second World War, this enormous predicament being confronted by the EU will most likely linger; further exacerbated by geopolitical realities laced with bitter internecine conflicts. With oppression, civil disorder, and chaos enveloping the many countries these migrants are forced to abandon, they attempt a perilous journey to an imagined better life, often at the risk of their own lives.
[Image Via Wikimedia Creative Commons]