In 2015 alone, over one million refugees and migrants fled to Europe by sea. Travel on the open water has its own inherent risks and dangers but for refugees crossing the Mediterranean, these risks are amplified by inadequate means. Vessels run by smugglers and human traffickers are damaged and overused, are loaded past capacity in the warmer months, and are sometimes deliberately sunk by the smugglers themselves.
1 in 3 people arriving in Greece at that time were children as compared to the much lower 1 in 10 of September 2015. These new journeys are indicative of how bad conditions have become in the many nations represented by those crossing - Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia, and Syria. Children are the most vulnerable victims of conflict, often facing the most extreme violence and exploitation in their home countries. For these women and children, the search for peace and safety is worth the risk of the sea.
More than 400 people died in the past two months trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
More than 80,000 migrants arrived in Europe by boat during the first six weeks of 2016. For those who believe that refugees have an alternative to risking so much for a safe haven, Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire’s “Home” earnestly urges that “No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
Statistics compiled from UNHCR