24. September 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Death toll in migrant shipwreck off Egypt rises to 300 · Kategorien: Ägypten, Mittelmeerroute · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian

Number of drownings in the Mediterranean in 2016 now expected to easily surpass last year’s record figure of 3,771

A record number of migrants is expected to drown in the Mediterranean in 2016, after the estimated death toll in this week’s latest shipwreck rose to about 300 on Friday.

Egyptian officials have rescued about 160 survivors from Wednesday’s shipwreck off the country’s north coast, leaving about 150 people still unaccounted for, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Those confirmed dead include 10 women and a baby, taking the estimated number of migrants to die in the Mediterranean so far this year to more than 3,500. At the current rate, the death toll for 2016 is expected to easily surpass the figure for 2015 of 3,771, which was the highest ever recorded. By this stage in 2015, 2,887 people had drowned.

The number of people trying to reach Europe has fallen significantly since last year’s record levels, as a result of the deal struck between the EU and Turkey and the closure of a humanitarian corridor between Greece and Germany. The flow of migrants from the three main departure points – Libya, Turkey and Egypt – stands at roughly the same level as 2014.

Libya remains the most popular departure point in north Africa, particularly for people fleeing war, poverty and oppression in Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia and Sudan. Several thousand migrants also leave from Egypt every year. Flavio di Giacomo, spokesman for IOM, said: “The Egyptian route is used mainly by migrants coming from eastern African countries – Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan – and some coming from the Middle East.” Unusually, the majority of Wednesday’s survivors were from Egypt.

Syrians made up the majority of people leaving Egypt in 2015, but their number has fallen drastically in 2016, partly because Syrians can no longer get visas to enter Egypt. By the end of August, just 577 had reached Italy in 2016, compared with 6,710 in the first eight months of last year.

There is little political will in Libya to hold smugglers to account, given the lawlessness in the country and its ongoing civil war. Egypt has been more proactive, drafting an anti-smuggling law that is in the process of being ratified.

Amr Taha, the head of IOM Egypt, said: “We urge the parliament to pass the new anti-human smuggling law, which should be a strong deterrent for smugglers. The law safeguards the rights and addresses the needs of smuggled migrants, as well as stipulating imprisonment and substantial fines for smugglers and their accomplices.”


siehe auch: New York Times

CAIRO — The Egyptian authorities said Friday that they had recovered 162 bodies after the sinking of a ship full of mostly Egyptian migrants in the Mediterranean this week.

The death toll, which is expected to rise to nearly 300, reflects the mounting economic pressure on Egyptians as well as a possible shift away from Libya as a point of departure for migrants headed to Europe, migrant aid workers said.

The boat capsized Wednesday off the coast of Rosetta, the Nile Delta port city east of Alexandria. Witnesses estimate that the boat was carrying 450 people.

The police said most were young Egyptian men in their late teens and their early to mid-20s. The military said it had rescued 163 survivors.

“That’s why this is a disaster,” said a police spokesman, Tarek Attiya. “They are just kids who wanted to work.”

Four men have been arrested in connection with the smuggling operation, Mr. Attiya said.

The number of Egyptians who are risking their lives to cross to Europe has risen sharply over the last two years, according to the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency.

“There has been an uptick,” said Joel Millman, a spokesman for the agency. “Egypt is busier now than it has been in a while.”

Among young people in Egypt, a third are unemployed and half live under the poverty line, according to official statistics.

The country’s economy has suffered a series of disruptions since the uprising in 2011 that ended the presidency of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s vital tourism industry has all but disappeared.

In June, residents of the coastal town of Burg Migheizil, known for smuggling migrants, said that pictures of European cities posted on social media sites by migrants who have made it to the Continent are also fueling the drive of young men in their town, and elsewhere, to cross the Mediterranean.

The country’s economic woes may also be pushing African migrants already in Egypt to risk the passage to Europe.

Some migrants may also be seeking transit from Egypt because smugglers using the shorter route from Libya are already transporting as many passengers as they can, clogging the route, Mr. Milliman said.

“We really do believe Libya is at full capacity,” he added, noting that Libyan smugglers appear to be on track to match last year’s level of about 150,000 departures even though a shortage of boats is forcing them to rely on smaller and less seaworthy crafts. “This could just be a tipping point from Libya to Egypt,” he said.

The Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 4,600 foreigners — mostly from nearby African countries — for trying to depart across the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

That is a 28 percent increase compared with the number of people who were arrested in 2015.

More than 300,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean this year from various countries. About 3,500 have died or are listed as missing, the refugee agency said.

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