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A migrant being rescued in the Mediterranean by a volunteer of the humanitarian organisation OPEN ARMS. Since 2014, according to the UN, at least 15,000 refugees have lost their lives in their bid to cross to Europe in rickety boats /Photo: OPEN ARMS

More than 1,000 migrants dead in the Mediterranean so far in 2019

More than 1,000 migrants and refugees have died in the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, according to the UN. This will be the sixth year in a row with more than 1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean in a year, said the UN International Organization for Migration on Tuesday in Geneva.

Since 2014, at least 15,000 migrants and refugees have died in the Mediterranean, most of them drowned.

Many more are even believed by migration experts to have died in transit, for example, migrants travelling across the Sahara desert.

Most migrants and refugees leave their home countries to escape poverty and violence. They come from African countries such as Eritrea and Nigeria and from Asian countries such as Afghanistan and Syria. Many of the boats used for crossing across the Mediterranean are not seaworthy.

READ ALSO Promoting Safe Migration in Africa

African migrants and refugees are often unaware and without defences in the face of false information given to them by human traffickers. These smugglers lure thousands of people to undertake journeys without any preparation or knowledge, journeys filled with extreme hardships and inhumane abuses.

Each week, thousands of young Africans continue to risk their lives to reach European shores by travelling across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean. The problem calls for sustained media campaign in the origin countries to raise awareness of the dangers and risks of irregular migration.

Femi Awoniyi

READ ALSO  ‘We were terrified, but we were not afraid to die’ — Rescued Eritrean girl narrates her ordeal crossing the Mediterranean

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