Seven hundred migrants are missing and feared drowned after the boat they were travelling in capsized near Libya yesterday.
A major rescue operation is underway amid reports there may have been as many as 950 people on board the small wooden boat. The stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy is the world’s deadliest migration route and Sunday’s tragedy may prove the worst disaster in living memory.
2,300 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2011, the majority of whom were attempting to escape the civil war in Libya. An estimated 1,200 died in 2012 and 2013. The crisis intensified in 2014 when 3,419 people perished trying to flee war-torn countries including Eritrea, Syria and countless others. In 2015, if the numbers from yesterday’s catastrophe are confirmed, an estimated 1,500 people will have already lost their lives attempting the risky crossing – 1,100 of those are likely to have died in the past week alone. A meeting of EU Foreign Ministers is taking place in Luxembourg today to discuss the growing crisis.
This chart shows estimated migrant deaths in the Mediterranean from 2011 to 2015.
You will find more statistics at Statista