At least 890 deaths in 10 days: Mediterranean transforming into “watery graveyard”

Publié: 5 juin 2016

Athens/Beirut, 5 June 2016 – Reports of yet another tragedy off Europe’s southern coast bring the number of people who have drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean to almost 890 in the last 10 days.

“This has been a period of grief and shame. Grief for the mothers, fathers and sons who have died. Shame as this is happening within sight of Europe,” said the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mr Elhadj As Sy. “The Mediterranean is transforming into a watery graveyard.

“In May alone, the number of people who were reported missing or have drowned at sea reached a staggering 1,086. People are risking their lives every day. We cannot accept this.

“Haven't we reached the human threshold to stop the indifference? Once again, we urge governments to provide safe routes for people seeking sanctuary and refuge. Solutions to this crisis must respect our shared humanity,” said Mr Sy.

According to the International Organization for Migration, a boat carrying 700 people capsized off the coast of the Greek island of Crete on Friday (3 June). At least 340 people have reportedly been rescued but hundreds are still missing. Hellenic Red Cross teams were immediately alerted by Greek authorities and are on standby to provide any assistance needed during rescue operations.

In a separate incident on Thursday (2 June), Libyan Red Crescent teams spent the entire day collecting bodies that had washed ashore along the coast of Zuwarah city. By the time Red Crescent volunteers had finished this final act of dignity, they had retrieved 117 bodies, among them those of 81 women and children.

As the weather is becoming warmer and the Mediterranean calmer, the number of migrants making the dangerous journey to seek refuge in Europe continues to rise.

Along the migration trail, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies continue to provide urgently needed food, shelter and health services to the survivors of these tragedies. Volunteers are also working to ensure those who lost their lives at sea can rest in dignity.


For further information, please contact:

In Greece:

Caroline Haga, emergency communications delegate, IFRC Europe
Email: ¦ Twitter: @hagacaroline ¦ Mobile: +30 694 985 1330

In Beirut:

Stephen Ryan, communication coordinator - Middle East and North Africa, IFRC
E-mail: | Twitter: @stiofanoriain | Mobile: +961 71 802 779

In Budapest:

Nichola Jones, emergency communications delegate, IFRC Europe
Email: |Mobile : +36 70 430 6506 | Twitter : @nicjones81

In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, team leader public communications, IFRC
Email: ¦ Twitter: @BenoistC ¦ Mobile: +41 79 213 2413