from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI – THOUSANDS of migrants and refugees have defied the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by making overseas trips to Europe since the beginning of the year.
Some 3 123 individuals have arrived in the first five months of the year, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
During the period, Europe was the epicetre of the COVID-19 crisis that has killed more than 600 000 people around the world.
The arrivals between January and May this year nonetheless are the lowest in three years.
They are two times less than the 7 360 arrivals this time last year. There were 13 043 arrivals registered this time of the year in 2018 and 26 585 in 2017.
Most arrivals this year have been noted in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.
Arrivals are from such countries as Algeria, Bangladesh, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.
Other migrants and refugees are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Libya is the main gateway to Europe for migrants and refugees seeking better economic opportunities in Europe.
Thousands have over the years used unsafe boats to cross via the Mediterranean Sea.
The migrants and refugees have braved the deaths documented at the sea and high cases of human traffickers.
Sea rescue personnel are also accused of heavy-handedness while some European countries expose rescued migrants to violations.
– CAJ News