Sunday, April 16, 2017

Migrant boats: Thousands saved off Libyan coast over Easter

During the Easter weekend, there were thousands of migrants rescued from the sea near Libya. Over 5,000 people were saved on Friday and Saturday with rescue efforts continuing into Sunday afternoon proving this weekend to be one of the busiest for rescue organizations yet in 2017. It is believed that the surge of sea migration is due to the warm spring climate. Many migrants risk the treacherous journey on over-crowded inflatable dinghies or wooden boats. Since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, the EU gave the Libyan government 200 million euros to reinforce its coastline and inhibit the people-smuggling operations. The migrant issue has continued into 2017, with the UN estimating that "32,750 people have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, despite the dangerous winter weather. An estimated 826 are dead, or missing" (BBC News 2017). 

Sarah Obrist 

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