After another migrant boat capsized on Monday, an estimated 400 people are believed to have drowned. The Italian coastguard helped to rescue 144 people off the coast of Libya, and immediately launched an air and sea search operation in hopes of finding others.
Carlotta Bellini, a Save the Children spokeswoman in Rome, told Al Jazera: “According to their stories, they all departed from Libya, more than 550 people on the same boat that capsized only 24 hours after they departed,”
The deaths, if confirmed, will add to the skyrocketing numbers of migrants lost at sea: it is estimated that up to 3,072 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2014, compared to just 700 in 2013.
William Spindler, a specialist on asylum and refugee issues at the UNHCR, said that due to conflict in places like Syria and the Horn of Africa, the number of people trying to find safety in Europe has increased “enormously” since last year.
“… we need to open the possibility for refugees to come legally to Europe so that they don’t need to take these dangerous journeys,” he told Al Jazeera.
“And very importantly, we need to help countries that are hosting the vast majority of refugees in the world, countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya … We need to make sure they can continue to keep refugees safe – because otherwise refugees will continue these journeys and risk their lives to find safety in Europe.”
With the onset of spring and warmer weather, even more people are attempting to flee conflict and poverty and to reach Europe. The UNHCR said Italy’s coastguard had saved about 8,500 migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean in the last week alone.
- Pray for those who are desperate to escape poverty and war across Africa and the Middle East. Pray that in their desperation, they will call out to God and discover His life, love and hope through Jesus.
- Pray for the growing issue of illegal immigration. Pray that European and other countries in the world who are able to take in refugees, will have compassion on these desperate people and agree to take in more.
- Pray for a end to the conflict and a solution to the problems that result in so many people willing to risk their lives to find a better life.
John 3 vs 16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”