20. April 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für 500 Tote: UNHCR bestätigt · Kategorien: Ägypten, Griechenland, Italien, Libyen · Tags: , ,

More information about the latest shipwreck. Survivors confirm around 500 people lost their lives.

Quelle: Migrant-Reports

Survivors Confirm 500 Dead in Latest Mediterranean Tragedy

by Mark Micallef in Spotlight

A group of 41 migrants who were rescued from a drifting vessel off Greece have reported that as many as 500 people may have died when they vessel sunk at an unconfirmed location between Libya and Italy.


Stock photo of migrant boat off Libya following a rescue. Photo: Jason Florio

On Tuesday, a UNHCR team interviewed survivors (37 men, three women and a three-year-old child) who were rescued by a merchant ship and taken to Kalamata, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece on 16 April.Those rescued include 23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, 6 Egyptians and a Sudanese.

“The survivors told us that they had been part of a group of between 100 and 200 people who departed last week from a locality near Tobruk in Libya on a 30-metre-long boat,” UNHCR said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The testimonies finally settle some inconsistencies surrounding the story which first surfaced on social media on Monday and which claimed the accident happened off Crete and that Malta’s search and rescue coordination centre was involved.

However, Greek, Maltese and Italian search and rescue authorities all denied having any knowledge or being involved in the incident. In fact, the survivors who have now been interviewed by UNHCR, had been taken to Greece two days before members of the Somali diaspora started raising the alarm about the missing migrants.

Moreover, the migrants say they did not leave from Egypt but Tobruk, in eastern Libya.

If confirmed, this would be the first such departure from this part of Libya in months.

After sailing for several hours, the smugglers on charge of the boat attempted to transfer the passengers to a larger ship carrying hundreds of people in terribly overcrowded conditions. At one point during the transfer, the larger boat capsized and sank.

The 41 survivors include people who had not yet boarded the larger vessel, as well as some who managed to swim back to the smaller boat. They drifted at sea possibly for three days before being spotted and rescued on 16 April.

UNHCR visited the survivors at the local stadium of Kalamata where they have been temporarily housed by the local authorities while they undergo police procedures.

UNHCR continues to call for increased regular pathways for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to Europe, including resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, family reunification, private sponsorship and student and work visas for refugees. These will all serve to reduce the demand for people smuggling and dangerous irregular sea journeys.

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