From file: Migrants in the Mediterranean Sea | Credit: Reuters
From file: Migrants in the Mediterranean Sea | Credit: Reuters

In its bi-monthly report published on January 2, Alarm Phone, the distress hotline for migrant boats in the Mediterranean, says it recorded 95 distress cases involving 3,184 migrants. The non-profit organization also recorded more than 300 people as dead or missing.

Alarm Phone documented a total of 95 distress cases in the Mediterranean in its most recent 8-week report. 3,184 migrants were involved, with 1,896 who reached Europe and more than 300 people who died or went missing. The highest number of victims came from the Central Mediterranean. 

Moreover, AlarmPhone said in the last two months it documented human rights violations by the European Union and its allies, which included pushbacks in the Central Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, refoulement by proxy, or delays in rescue operations. 

Data from October 28 to December 22 

The Alarm Phone report covers the period from October 28 to December 22, 2019. In the Aegean Sea it said it was alerted to "60 boats in distress involving more than 1,347 people". Of these, 38 boats with over 834 individuals on board reached Greece, while 22 boats with over 513 individuals were returned to Turkey. "We fear that at least five cases involved push/pull back practices," the report said.

In the Central Mediterranean, it said it was alerted to 19 emergency situations involving about 1,269 migrants. "Of these 19 boats in distress, 13 boats with about 786 people on board were rescued to Europe, with nine of those boats rescued by members of the civil fleet," it said. It said three boats with about 219 people on board were forcibly returned to Libya and three boats with 264 people on board capsized or went missing. 

In the Western Mediterranean, Alarm Phone received 16 distress calls involving about 568 people. It said nine boats with about 249 people on board were rescued and taken to Spain. "Remarkably, seven of these boats rescued to Spain were travelling along the Atlantic route toward the Canary Islands," it said. It said six boats with about 246 people aboard were returned to Morocco. 

"One boat with 73 people went missing and we fear that these lives were lost. Another boat carrying 91 people capsized, leaving seven people dead," it said.

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