This week, Europe was rocked by the deadliest migrant boat disaster of modern times, with hundreds of people still missing and feared dead.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson condemned the tragedy off the coast of Greece as the “worst ever” seen in the Mediterranean, an immensely concerning reflection of Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis.
The boat was carrying migrants from Tobruk, Libya to Italy when it capsized in the Ionian Sea. Over 100 people were rescued and survivors claim that the boat was overcrowded with up to 750 passengers.
The death toll has currently risen to 79 and rescue services are still searching for survivors. Johansson used this incident to hit out against the smugglers involved in the operation, saying “they are not sending them to Europe, they are sending them to death.”
Greece declared three days of mourning in response to this horrific incident, which has sparked an intense wave of outrage throughout Europe.
To prevent such tragedies from occurring again, a multifaceted approach is needed. Not only must action be taken to ensure that smugglers cannot organize these dangerous voyages, but the root causes of migration such as poverty, conflict, and persecution also need to be addressed.