137K migrants crossed: Mediterranean Migrants

Published: July 1, 2015

137K migrants crossed: Mediterranean Migrants, A record 137,000 people made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe in the first half of 2015, most of them fleeing war, conflict and persecution, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

“Europe is living through a maritime refugee crisis of historic proportions,” the UN refugee agency warned in a report, adding that the number of people making the crossing swelled 83 per cent in the first six months of 2015 compared to a year earlier.

The situation is expected to worsen as more clement summer weather allows ruthless people smugglers to dispatch more people on the dangerous crossing, often in rickety boats and at the mercy of human traffickers.

The immigration crisis is a burning issue for the EU, where member states have been wrangling over the best ways to tackle human trafficking and arguing over how to share the burden of helping new arrivals, many of them ill, starving and destitute.

The soaring numbers arriving in Italy and Greece, before moving on to other northern European states in the hope of finding jobs, has sparked outcry and growing anti-foreigner rhetoric in many countries.

It hailed Brussels’ decision to redistribute 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers who have already arrived in Europe, but called on for greater solidarity between countries to help both migrants and the states carrying the heaviest load.


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