Mapping Mediterranean migration

Source: BBC

The deaths of around 300 migrants off the small island of Lampedusa on 3 October has brought the issue of migration in the Mediterranean sharply back into focus.

Every year thousands of people, many fleeing conflict and instability in Africa and the Middle East, risk their lives in small, often decrepit vessels while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European territories.

Then, on 11 October, more than 30 people died when another boat packed with around 250 people sank just off the coast of Malta.

Some 200 people were rescued, and Malta’s prime minister warned that the Mediterranean was in danger of becoming of a “cemetery” for desperate migrants.

The UN says some 32,000 people have arrived in Malta and Italy so far this year.

At the weekend more than 200 migrants also arrived in Sicily after being rescued by the Italian coastguard and a merchant ship.

The i-Map project was developed as a joint initiative by European border management agency Frontex and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and produces detailed maps showing the routes and major hubs used by migrants in the region.

Libya has become a popular starting point for many journeys, with people traffickers exploiting the country’s power vacuum and increasing lawlessness.

The relatively short distance between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa encourages more people to risk the journey.

The number of people using the various routes across the Mediterranean has ebbed and flowed.

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