15 May 2020
"More and more migrants are crossing, Europe is closing its ports and no humanitarian ships are carrying out rescues. As the coronavirus pandemic dominates headlines, activists fear the Mediterranean is the scene of an overlooked “tragedy”.
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A handful of migrant landings have taken place in recent weeks, including 79 people who arrived last weekend in Italy — a country under fire even before the outbreak for refusing to allow private vessels carrying migrants to dock.
International organisations and NGOs say the situation is bleak, as all rescue operations were ceased as of last week.
“If there is no help at sea and countries drag their feet to rescue and allow people to disembark, we’re going to end up with a fairly serious humanitarian situation,” said Vincent Cochetel, special envoy for the central Mediterranean with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
He estimates that 179 people have died in the area since January".
Fears mount over migrants dying ‘out of sight’ in Mediterranean (Euractiv, link)
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