In 2016, over 5,000 migrants in total have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Monitoring agencies as well as the United Nations say this is a record high number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. This estimate also includes the 100 people who likely drowned at sea after being shipwrecked on Thursday. Smugglers typically put lots of people onto vessels which are made of poor quality and are very small for the number of people they are holding. This causes them to become damaged at sea, which results in the people drowning to death.
Officials from the United Nations had already warned the public that there would be a lot of migrant crossing deaths in 2016. It is believed that 360,000 migrants have been successful in reaching the European continent from the sea. They usually end up coming to Greece or Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration. In Italy alone, over 175,000 migrants have arrived there. This is a 19% increase in the number of crossings when compared to the number in 2015.
You may wonder why migrants would take such risks to crowd themselves onto dangerous vessels and voyage out to sea, especially in the wintertime when the risk of nasty weather is high. Well, this just goes to show you how terrible the living conditions are in Libya and Syria where most of these migrants come from. They would rather risk their lives and defy the odds rather than stay in their war-torn countries.
The Coast Guard continues to rescue people that are shipwrecked. It is estimated that they’ve already rescued 175 people under these conditions so far. Everyone else who’s been shipwrecked has likely died. There have been 8 dead bodies already recovered from the water who faced these conditions. As the year comes to an end, there will likely be more as well.