Over 3,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants died or went missing in 2021 while trying to reach European countries through the Mediterranean and Atlantic sea routes.
Such figures that have been published through the recent United Nations refugee agency report show that there has been registered the highest increase in this regard in the recent years, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The same source reveals that thousands of citizens from Africa take dangerous routes to Europe each year, mainly travelling over the Sahara desert and leaving the north African shores on small boats.
Authorities in the European Union are continuously attempting to find new effective ways in order to deal with the influx of migrants who attempt to reach European countries in an illegal way.
According to a previous report of the UNHCR, last year, a total of 3,077 people were reported dead or missing, marking nearly a twofold increase compared to 2020 figures.
“We are seeing the increases soar. It’s alarming,” UNHCR’s Shabia Mantoo pointed out in this regard in a briefing in Geneva. ”
UHHCR started to publish consolidation tolls in 2019, while the figures show that the number of lives lost has marked a notable increase.
Based on the data provided by the same source, a total of 553 people have been reported dead or missing so far this year. The majority of them are on the Central Mediterranean route.
The tolls do not consist of the number of persons lost along land routes such as through the Sahara Desert nor those lost in smuggler-run detention centres where survivors have reported sexual violence and forced marriage and labour, as reported by the National news.
The majority of the persons dead and missing came from the following countries, according to Mantoo.
In addition, a large number of them are from Egypt, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan.
“We have been urging that there needs to be humanitarian and development action that needs to be strengthened to address these drivers that force people to move in the first place,” she pointed out.
Mantoo also expressed concerns about pushbacks after the release of a report by the UN rights office published last year, which partly blamed the EU for deaths in the Mediterranean due to unanswered calls.
Recently, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that a total of 171 migrants were rescued in distress at the sea of Libya by two humanitarian vessels, Ocean Viking and Geo Barents, while hundreds of people were intercepted and returned to Libya.