Nearly 900 Migrants Died in Mediterranean Over Past Week, U.N. Says

Agency repeats call for EU to allow more legal pathways for refugees to reach bloc

Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships “Bettica” and “Bergamini” off the coast of Libya last week. The United Nations said at least 880 lives have been lost in the Mediterranean in the past week. PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA—The U.N. refugee agency says survivors’ accounts indicate that shipwrecks and capsized boats have claimed at least 880 lives over the past week in the Mediterranean.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said Tuesday this year is proving to be “particularly deadly” on the Mediterranean, with some 2,510 lives lost compared with 1,855 in the same span a year ago.

Authorities and international organizations had previously reported some 700 migrants and refugees had perished in Mediterranean shipwrecks over three days last week, the deadliest known tally in over a year.

Spindler reiterated UNHCR’s appeal to the European Union to allow for more legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe, and said it was “shameful” that the bloc had resettled fewer than 2,000 people under a plan announced last year to resettle 160,000.

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