A fishing boat with dozens of migrants onboard off the coast of the island of Lampedusa | Photo: Concetta Rizzo / Archive / ANSA
A fishing boat with dozens of migrants onboard off the coast of the island of Lampedusa | Photo: Concetta Rizzo / Archive / ANSA

The UN has calculated that almost 18,000 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean since a ship capsized in 2013 off Lampedusa, killing 368.

Over 17,800 people including more than 1,000 this year, thus far, have lost their lives or went missing in the central Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe since 2013, according to UN figures.

The organization Save The Children noted the figures in a statement released on Thursday, September 30 stressing that it was urgent that the European Union and Member States commit to creating structured, coordinated, and effective search and rescue operations, to prevent further loss of life.

Pledge has not been honored

Save The Children said that the pledge that no more tragedies would occur in the Mediterranean had not been honored after 368 people lost their lives in a shipwreck on October 3, 2013.

The organization was speaking ahead of the eighth anniversary of the incident which took place on Sunday (October 3).

Save the Children pointed out that this migration route is one of the most dangerous in the world and that safe channels for entering the European Union were needed as well as an appropriate system to receive and provide protection for the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied minors.

Over 6,600 unaccompanied minors arrived this year, thus far, via sea

Save The Children added that Lampedusa continues to be one of the main points of arrival and one of the places of initial reception and that, since the beginning of the year, over 6,000 unaccompanied minors had arrived in Italy via sea, most of whom landed on the island.

The situation concerning minors, especially those travelling to borders without adult accompaniment, is at the center of Save The Children's work, explored in a workshop conducted as part of a project called "Siamo sulla Stessa Barca" ("We Are All in the Same Boat") that will be on Lampedusa from Sept 30 to Oct 3, organized by the October 3 memorial committee.

Workshop in partnership with UNICEF

The project focuses on Italian and European students as part of the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Migration. The initiative, which has been granted a medal by the President of the Italian Republic, includes events with 60 schools and 350 students, accompanied by 93 teachers from 20 European countries.

The workshop, run by Save The Children, focused on a report on minors crossing Europe, which was conducted near Italy's northern borders, to speak out against the "inertia" of Europe, which it claimed was sitting by as violence took place without providing appropriate protection and reception to those under age 18.

The workshop was devised by the journalist Daniele Biella. Activities were carried out on Lampedusa in association with the UN Children's Charity UNICEF, to ensure support and protection to migrant minors arriving on the island.


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