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21 April 2016

Migrants and refugees rescued off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday. Photo: Associated Press

Hundreds Drown One Year After The Deadliest Shipwreck Of The Refugee Crisis

Greece - On the anniversary of one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of people are reported to have drowned trying to reach Europe, writes Charlotte Alfred for the Huffington Post.

Survivors of this week’s shipwreck, who were rescued by a cargo ship on Saturday in the sea between Libya and Italy, said over 400 people had died when their boat sank a few days earlier.

“The boat was going down, down ... all the people died in a matter of minutes,” an Ethiopian man named Mohamed told the International Organization For Migration (IOM). “I saw my wife and my two-month old child [die] at sea, together with my brother-in-law.”

“After the shipwreck we drifted at sea for a few days, without food, without anything,” he told IOM after rescuers brought him and 40 other survivors to the Greek city of Kalamata. “I [thought] I was going to die.”

The new tragedy in the Mediterranean highlights how Europe’s refugee crisis has come full circle in one year.

In April 2015, some 800 people drowned when a boat carrying migrants and refugees from Libya to Italy capsized at sea, the highest death toll yet after months of deadly migrant shipwrecks.

Read on 

While the search for survivors continues, thousands of people urgently need shelter and basic services. Photo: IOM.

Ecuador Quake Death Toll Now 553 and Set to Rise Further

Ecuador -The death toll from last weekend’s earthquake rose to 553 on Wednesday afternoon, as the government intensified relief efforts by sending truck caravans and cargo aircraft to deliver badly needed food, water, tents and bedding to shattered cities along the country’s Pacific coast, write Pablo Jaramillo Viteri and Chris Kraul for The Los Angeles Times.

It was unclear how many people were still missing. The attorney general said 1,700, while the Defense Ministry put the figure at 231. More than 4,500 injuries have been reported.

Although the government noted that 54 people had been pulled alive from wreckage by teams in various cities, the fatality count is expected to climb significantly.

Thousands of survivors continued to sleep in parks and outdoor arenas. There have been more than 540 aftershocks, including two close to the epicenter -- near the coastal town of Muisne -- early Wednesday of magnitudes 6.1 and 6.3. The temblor Saturday was magnitude 7.8.

Read on

Read here how IOM is working with the Ecuadorian government and humanitarian partners to help survivors.

The Other Side of Migration: A Global Photo Competition

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD) has launched a global photo competition to highlight the positive aspects of migration and its potential for development. Photographs have the unique ability to evoke emotions to tell a story from a new angle. IOM is partnering with SDC to publicise the competition and will showcase the winning submissions and stories on the I am a Migrant platform and in photo exhibits and other events held to mark the organisation’s 65th anniversary later this year.

Call for Entries

How has migration improved your life? Or the life of someone you know? Have you witnessed some of the many positive effects of migration on the lives of migrants and on societies? The overwhelming amount of sad news linked to migration all too often overshadow these positive aspects.

This photo competition is about putting the benefits of migration in the spotlight, showing how it contributes to a better society and what it can do for development. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and in whatever way you or others experience migration and mobility, and its contribution to society and people’s lives – we are looking forward to receiving your photographs.

The competition is open for entries until 15 May 2016. For further details and how to participate go here.

Migration in the News

  • AFP, DPA, AP and Reuters reported fears that up to 500 migrants from Africa may have drowned in the Mediterranean, in what could be one of the worst tragedies since the start of the refugee crisis in Europe. They cited testimony provided to UNHCR and IOM by survivors. BBC, Al Jazeera, Die Welt, International Business TimesLa Stampa and the Washington Post also reported the story.

  • The Guardian reported that the number of people migrating between poorer countries in 2015 rose faster than the number migrating from poor to rich countries, according to IOM’s Global Migration Trends Report 2015.

  • Voice of America (French) reported on the state of African migration to Europe, one year after the deadliest shipwreck in the Mediterranean, which killed over 800 people in 2015.

  • Daily Mail UK reported that migrants are paying smugglers to lead them along old Alpine donkey paths to get into northern Europe.

  • New Europe published an Op-Ed by Eurasylum Director Solon Ardittis analyzing Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s proposed financial strategy to solve the ongoing EU migration crisis.

  • Ventures Africa reported that social media users in Somalia are using hashtags #Don’tBuyDeath and #SomaliYouth and a Facebook page “I Am Somali” to raise awareness of the dangers of irregular migration. 

Trending on the Internet

  • Channel 4 News reported from Herat on Afghanistan’s border with Iran, where most Afghans begin their journey to Europe. Unlike Syrians and Iraqis, the European Union now classifies most Afghans as economic migrants.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
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