6000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean past two days, Sweden expects 45.000 in 2017
— Sky TG24 (@SkyTG24) 7 mei 2017
In a statement released by the Italian coastguard, approximately 6,000 refugees and migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean in the last two days. On Saturday the 6th of May, 3,000 were rescued in more than 20 rescue operations by the coastguards, the national Navy, the European agency Frontex and several NGO’s. The Friday before that, the first 3,000 were saved. The operation was led by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and the refugees were brought to Italy. The Libyan coastguard also rescued approximately 170 migrants this Saturday, at the coast of Tripoli. Some were not rescued due to a “lack of means”, the coastguard declared to AFP.
A couple, travelling with their baby, was asked about the trip and stated this was their sixth attempt from Libya, in which they finally reached international waters. The couple tried to travel to Europe legally, asking for help from the United Nations but were told they would face a wait of up to one year. They felt so unsafe in Libya that they decided to take the illegal route, paying over 10,000 euros to traffickers.
In the past months, Libya and Italy reinforced their cooperation in their battle against illegal immigration. In a mutual agreement last January, Italy vowed to strengthen the Libyan coastguard with human and technical support. On April 21st, Italy supplied two ships to Libya, with eight more to be expected by the end of June.
In 2016, 362.376 migrants arrived by sea.
According to the International Organization for Migration, so far this year 44,791 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea as of April 26. Many are believed to have undertaken a perilous journey of up to six days across the Sahara in extreme temperatures. More than 1,000 have died or are missing.
The authority also assessed that between 22,000 and 45,000 immigrants would seek asylum in Sweden in 2017. The Swedish Migration Board concurred, by stating in a press release that: “The assessment is confirmed. In addition, the government’s decision (to cancel ID checks) increases the likelihood of more asylum seekers during this period.”