ABU DHABI, 27th May 2016 (WAM) – The migrants’ saga seems to be far from over, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has noted, following the second tragic shipwreck in two days, when a migrant boat capsized in the Mediterranean on Thursday causing many casualties.
Several people were also feared dead after another shipwreck off Libya.
The English language daily ‘Gulf Today’ said in a commentary today that according to officials of European Union’s Sophia military operation to combat people smugglers in the Mediterranean, a Luxembourg reconnaissance plane spotted a capsized boat off the Libyan coast with about 100 migrants in the water or clinging to the sinking vessel.
The rescuers raced to the scene and threw life-floats and jackets to those in the water. Unfortunately, some of the migrants could not be saved.
In photographs released by Eunavfor Med on Twitter, migrants could be seen waving their arms for help as they balance perilously on the deck of the boat, already underwater but clearly visible in the aquamarine sea.
A total of 766 migrants are said to have been rescued by Libyan coast guards.
The sea route between Libya and Italy has now become the main route for asylum seekers heading for Europe, after a European Union deal on migrants with Turkey slowed the flow of people reaching Greece.
In Greece, the authorities have completed the evacuation of the country’s biggest informal refugee and other migrant camp on the Macedonian border. The Idomeni camp is now empty. At its peak, it hosted some 14,000 people trapped by Balkan border closures.
Just before the evacuation Idomeni had 8,400 occupants, according to official figures, and it’s unclear where all those who didn’t get the buses to other camps are.
In France, hundreds more migrants have made their way to Calais on the north coast in recent months despite the bulldozing of part of their “jungle” camp in March, and despite extra port security aimed at stopping them from reaching Britain.
Official figures from the Pas de Calais region put the total in tents, shanties and a new state-run city of converted shipping containers at 3,900, up from 3,500 at the end of March.
The paper said that amid all the challenges, there is also a dire need for European countries to ensure that unaccompanied refugee and migrant children are housed in special facilities and quickly reunited with their families.
“Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland is absolutely right when he says that the increasingly restrictive legislation some European countries are adopting would make it harder for such children to be reunited with parents already living in Europe,” it concluded.