Erin Taylor 267.250.8829 (M)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 3, 2016) — At least 600 children have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, Save the Children has found. The toll, from a new analysis of data by the international aid organization, means on average, two children per day died or disappeared between January 1 and September 26.
More than 3,500 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year — nearly 600 more people compared to the same period last year.
The figures have been released to coincide with the third anniversary of a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, in which more than 300 people were killed.
"Today, we remember the 368 refugees and migrants who tragically lost their lives off the coast of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013, trying to reach the safety of Europe's shores," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "Three years ago, leaders promised 'never again' as images of the shipwreck and coffins were brought to international attention. But since then, more than 10,400 men, women and children have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe by sea.
"The Mediterranean sea has become an unmarked grave for children fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty. The international community cannot continue to ignore these tragedies - we have an obligation to protect children, both in Europe and during their treacherous journeys."
Save the Children has worked at Italian ports for more than eight years, helping keep unaccompanied children safe when they arrive on land and has recently extended its operations to help save lives at sea. The organization’s search and rescue vessel, Vos Hestia, has already saved more than 600 people in less than one month, including 85 children - some younger than five years old. More than 200 refugees and migrants were rescued during two search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean on Sunday.
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.