Save the Children Calls on EU Leaders to Urgently Strengthen the Search and Rescue Capacity in the Mediterranean

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 11, 2015) — More than 300 migrants are presumed dead, according to UN’s refugee agency, after the boats carrying them sank trying to reach Italy having departed the Libyan coast on Saturday. Latest reports indicate that just 9 people survived.

“Save the Children has repeatedly raised concerns that the Italian navy’s comprehensive search-and-rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was stopped last October, citing fears about accentuating the already extreme risks faced by migrants, especially those most vulnerable, such as women and children, in migrant sea crossings,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

“Sadly, despite this latest tragedy, the number of migrants continuing to attempt treacherous sea crossings is increasing. In January 2015, despite the bad weather conditions, 3,528 migrants reached Italy, including 195 women and 374 children -- a staggering rise of 60 percent compared to the number of migrants arriving in 2013.

“Save the Children calls on EU leaders to urgently strengthen the search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean to help mitigate the high number of migrant and refugee deaths at sea.”

This incident follows the deaths reported yesterday of at least 29 migrants after the inflatable boat carrying them overturned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Every day, children around the world are severely affected by crises and events which are out of their control. No one knows when, or where, the next crisis will occur. For nearly 100 years, Save the Children has been on the front lines of emergency and humanitarian responses around the world. Our Children’s Emergency Fund was established to provide assistance to children in their time of greatest need.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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