Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tide of humanity that threatens to overwhelm EU's ability to respond

Javier Solana
Javier Solana

Mary Fitzgerald

Another week, another tragic reminder of the quickening refugee crisis on Europe's shores. An estimated 200 people are believed to have perished after a fishing boat said to be carrying 600 desperate refugees and migrants capsized off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.

The Irish Naval Service patrol vessel LE Niamh was first on the scene and carried 367 survivors, including 12 women and 13 children, to safety in Palermo. Niamh's manifest when it docked also included 25 bodies recovered from the sea. Two similar incidents in April resulted in the deaths of some 1,200 people.

The UN this week released figures showing that around 224,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year. That is already higher than the 219,000 people who made the journey throughout 2014, which until now had been the highest number on record.

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