Desperate attempts in the Middle East and North African regions have heightened in recent Years. Most of these migrants are destined for Europe in search for greener pasture. Meanwhile, others are fleeing from persecution by their governments and military crisis in their home countries.
The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, or IOM has for long been involved in rescuing, resettling, and management of the migrants. The situation gets worse on a daily as more migrants trickle in Europe. The host countries however, has continuously been none receptive and have in many occasions sent back the migrants back to sea, a move that has claimed more lives. Turkey, Greece and Italy authorities in some cases have been hash and brutal to some of these migrants but deny any wrong doings.
At least 29 Africans, including seven girls, died last week while trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands on a smuggling boat, according to information released Monday from a U.N. migration agency, a Spanish refugee charity and victims’ relatives.
In a concerted effort, Spanish maritime services on Friday rescued 27 migrants and recovered four bodies in the boat that was spotted by a fishing vessel 500 kilometers south of El Hierro, an island in the Canary archipelago off northwest Africa.
Following this recent incident that claimed over 26 lives, at least 24 more people were on the boat when it left August 15 from Dakhla, a port city in the disputed Western Sahara, said Helena Maleno, founder of the Walking Borders refugee group.
Maleno’s organization came up with the figure after conducting extensive interviews with relatives looking for their loved ones. She said only one of the eight children traveling on the boat survived but the girl lost her mother during the trip.
Despite efforts in saving more lives, Malenos organization also confirmed that they are seeing more and more women taking on these routes, heading to sea with migrants themselves who have little or no experience with navigation and are given the task to be in charge of the boats by the trafficking networks that have made this an organized international crime which is extremely hard especially when it comes to cracking down the leaders of such a horrific migrant cartel.
She said many of the women are fleeing conflict, trafficking, rape, genital mutilation and other abuses but often face even more violence during their efforts to reach Europe.
According to Maleno, many women attempting the voyage become pregnant and they cross with their very young children.
According to the testimony of survivors, the remains of those who died during the journey were thrown overboard by fellow travelers, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, or IOM, said.
The UN agency (IOM) said it had been informed by Canary Islands authorities of 29 total casualties, including a woman from Cote d’Ivoire who was rescued but died upon arrival at the port of Arguineguin.
The voyage, often on small, frail boats, from Africa to the Canary Islands is one of the deadliest migration routes for those attempting to reach Europe. The IOM has recorded 529 deaths this year on that route but said the number is “an undercount of the true number of deaths and disappearances on this route. Some of the deaths aren’t recorded due to the extreme sea tides and unfavorable weather conditions in the sea.
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