The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday urged Europe to act urgently to the significant increase in the number of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean, in a statement released in Geneva.
In the last 10 days, more than 260 immigrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, bringing to over 800 the number of deaths this year.
“The death of 260 people in less than 10 days, in horrible circumstances, shows that the crisis intensifies in the Mediterranean,” said High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
“Europeans must act urgently to prevent this catastrophe from worsening further,” he added.
Guterres called on governments to strengthen their relief operations, providing quick access to asylum procedures for those who need protection and find legal alternatives to the dangerous crossing the Mediterranean.
The balance of 800 dead since the beginning of the year is higher than the (600 dead) last year and 2012 (500).