For every 25 migrants who arrive safely in Europe, it's likely that one didn't make it, according to figures from advocacy group the Italian Refugee Council. Crammed onto treacherously overcrowded boats that are barely seaworthy, the passengers are given little or no food or water before being pushed off — without a compass to guide them — and pointed towards Europe. At least 480 people have died or been lost at sea since the uprisings in Tunisia and Libya began.
The largest loss of life in 2011 was near to Lampedusa in Italy where 150 people perished on April 6th on the sea crossing from Tunisia to the refugee camp on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Gabriele Del Grande, the Italian journalist, has been using his blog “Fortress Europe” to publicise the plight of refugees for years. He has also analysed the reports of all the news agencies regarding shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. In mid-August 2011, Del Grande verified that 1,931 refugee boat people had been killed on the sea lanes to Europe. Some 1,674 of these died in the channel between Sicily and North Africa.
Overall, his documentation contends that almost 6,000 people have drowned or died of thirst along the way since 1994. The year 2011 is therefore by far the worst to date, especially since many of these people died attempting to escape the war in Libya.
The UK Government's has issued the following travel advice:-
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
- Russian Federation