UN sees record 5,000 Mediterranean deaths this year

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Rome, Dec 2 (IANS/AKI) As many as 5,000 migrants will perish on the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe this year – a record death toll, the head of the United Nations refugees agency UNHCR said on Friday.

“This is a global crisis,” Filippo Grandi told the Med Dialogues forum in Rome on Friday.

“Europe needs to reform its refugee reception system,” said Grandi, adding that UNHCR is making “very concrete suggestions” on how the European Union can exert leadership in the management of migration.

These include reducing migration by playing a stronger political role in conflict resolution in migrants’ home countries, more help for host countries and offering legal migration channels, Grandi said.

A total of 350,573 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 till November 30, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, while 4,699 have died on the journey, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

The 173,188 migrants and refugees who reached Italy so far this year is over 20 percent more than in 2015, the IOM said, citing Italian government data.

–IANS/AKI

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