More than 1,300 migrants and refugees fleeing for their lives — including around 190 children — drowned between November 2016 and January 2017. Most of these deaths took place as the refugees traveled along the dangerous Central Mediterranean sea route.
This figure is a whopping 13 times higher than the number recorded around the same time last year, and has prompted UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) to make a call to action.
The organization is urging leaders of European Union member states to do something about this severe refugee crisis.
“The growing number of children lost at sea underscores the acute danger of the journey from North Africa to Italy, as well as the pressing need for governments on both sides of the Mediterranean to do more to keep them safe,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said.
Europe’s record-breaking winter temperatures also pose a threat to many more homeless refugees. While many women and children have been placed in shelters, most men still battle harsh weather conditions.
“Actually the cold is too much and last night we didn't sleep, we all the people sitting around the fire and it was too cold, I think it was minus 16, 15 last night,” said Amin Jahn, a migrant from Pakistan.
Check out the video above to learn more about the situation.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters