More than 3,000 people died in Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean in 2021 – UNHCR report

by teleSUR

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) revealed Friday in a report that more than 3,000 people died or disappeared last year trying to reach Europe through the crossing of the central and western Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.

The document details that of this total, some 1,924 people were declared dead or missing on the central and western Mediterranean routes, while another 1,153 perished or disappeared on the maritime route from northwest Africa to the Canary Islands.

At the same time, they detail that the figure practically doubles the 1,776 deaths for this concept recorded in 2020; while so far in 2022 another 478 migrants have died or disappeared at sea.

The increasing figures led the UNHCR to make an urgent appeal to prevent deaths and protect refugees and asylum seekers embarking on dangerous journeys by land and sea.

The appeal is directed at 25 countries in four different regions that connect to Europe either by land or sea routes; routes commonly used by migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

In addition, $163.5 million was requested to assist and protect thousands of refugees and others as part of an updated refugee protection and solutions strategy.

Among the root causes of the forced displacements are situations of political instability, continuous armed conflicts, deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in their countries of origin, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of climate change.

The international body warned that the combination of all these factors could increase displacements and movements of a dangerous nature in 2022.

Hence the urgency of offering alternatives to these journeys, such as increased humanitarian assistance and international protection for survivors and those who have suffered human rights violations, as a containment mechanism in the face of growing human trafficking.

It is worth noting that most of the maritime crossings took place in unseaworthy vessels such as inflatable boats, in crossings that, depending on the place of departure such as the coastal states of West Africa, including Senegal and Mauritania, could take up to ten days.

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