Published On: Tue, Mar 14th, 2017

521 Migrants Die In Mediterranean Sea In 9 Weeks, Mainly Nigerians, West Africans

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By Nuel Suji – The International Organization for Migrants (IOM), has disclosed that no fewer than 521 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea, so far this year, many of them Nigerians and its West African neighbours.

IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency is therefore set to launch a campaign to inform Nigerian migrants on the dangers of illegal migration across the sea and desert.

The IOM, in a statement distributed by African Press Organization (APO), made available to News Investigators, Tuesday, said it would host an online press conference on Wednesday, March 15 at 11am Lagos Time.

The statement issued in GENEVA, Switzerland, March 14, 2017 revealed that 19,567 migrants arrived Italy by sea after ship-wrecks that claimed 521 lives.

“So far in 2017, 19,567 migrants arrived by sea to Italy and after the latest shipwreck this past weekend, 521 have died at sea – 50 more compared to the same period in 2016. The majority of these migrants are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Gambia – same as in 2016,” IOM stated.

According to the organization, “some of the migrants who make it to Europe and share their ordeal with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) (www.IOM.int), reveal that their journey was far more dangerous than expected.

“Many are unaware of the dangers and risks of migrating with the assistance of smugglers, not only at sea or in the desert, but also in transit countries like Libya. Recalling the life-threatening risks along their journey is often very distressing and in many instances, most migrants wish to forget and move forward with their lives and therefore tend not to share their experience with peers who are still back home.

The Aware Migrants campaign aims to inform migrants from 15 countries – mostly in West Africa along with Tunisia and Egypt – about the dangers of migrating irregularly across the Sahara Desert, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea.

The campaign is launched in the target countries of transit and origin in Africa with social media, TV and radio spots.

Flavio Di Giacomo and Shiraz Jerbi, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean – the UN Migration Agency will host an online press conference on Wednesday March 15 at 10am GMT.

Journalists interested in participating in this online press conference will be able to ASK QUESTIONS LIVE VIA THE INTERNET in English language.

They would be discussing with Flavio Di Giacomo and Shiraz Jerbi, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.

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