Rome, Italy. In breaking news it is being reported from Libyan naval officials that over 100 African migrants headed for italy have drown today, when a smuggler’s boat capsized today.
The largest flow of modern migration funnels through a single country, Libya. Coming from the south, migrants flee the vestiges of wars that have left entire nations in ruin. From the east, they escape a life of indefinite military servitude and violent conflict. From the west, they evade destitution and governments that arbitrarily jail whomever they please.
Ninety-seven migrants are missing and believed drowned after their Europe-bound boat sank on a crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, the Libyan coast guard has said. Spokesperson Ayoub Gassim said 23 migrants were rescued around six miles off the coast after authorities received a distress call on Thursday morning. Fifteen women and five children are among those still missing. He said the boat, which was loaded with African nationals, “completely collapsed.”
The country’s 1,100-mile coastline has effectively become an open border without government forces to monitor who comes and who goes. Smugglers have filled the void, willing to tightly pack hundreds of migrants at a time into flimsy vessels and shuttle them to Italy.
Migrant crossings through the central Mediterranean jumped by more than four-fold after 2013. The International Organization for Migration estimates that nearly 182,000 migrants from Libya have landed in Italy since the start of last year, exacerbating a massive refugee crisis already spilling out of Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
Libya has become a major avenue of migration, with thousands braving the dangerous sea crossing to Europe. More than 4,500 migrants perished on the crossing in 2016 alone.