Italy – IOM teams who met survivors of another Mediterranean tragedy this past weekend learned grisly details of an asphyxiation that claimed dozens of migrants’ lives. On Saturday in the Channel of Sicily 49 migrants were found dead on a ship carrying over 300 people. The survivors were rescued by the Italian Navy ship “Cigala Fulgosi” 21 miles off Libya’s coast.This tragedy is the latest in a long list of catastrophic events occurring in recent weeks. A total of 350 migrants have died since the 5th of August, bringing the total number of deaths at sea in the Mediterranean to nearly 2,350 since 1 January 2015.
“As we have already said in similar cases, what happened cannot be simply considered an incident. It is a crime. These unscrupulous smugglers are sending thousands of people to their deaths,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in Geneva. “A striking number of migrants are dying in the Channel of Sicily almost on a daily basis, while thousands of others are facing difficult conditions in the Greek islands, particularly Kos. There are also reports of an increasing number of migrants trying to reach Europe through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM) and Serbia in appalling conditions,” he added.