The Times: Coronavirus Economic Slump Pushing More Migrants to Europe

Migrants rescued by Italys' Guardia Costiera ( Coast Guard ) rests in the harbor of the Italian Pelagie Island of Lampedusa on July 29, 2020. - Boats with migrants mainly from Tunisia continue to arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Intercepted by the boats of the Italian costal guard …
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The knock-on effects of Coronavirus slowing economic activity is pushing migrants from countries that were already suffering towards Europe, a Times of London report claims.

Noting the surging number of arrivals coming to Europe in the first half of 2020, despite most global travel otherwise having halted or otherwise fallen dramatically, a co-authored report by Layli Foroudi in Tunisia and Philip Willan in Rome tracks the aspirations and progress of several migrants as they attempt to enter Europe.

Describing the trade of illegal people smugglers clandestinely bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to the European Union, the report claims the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated several push factors already emptying Tunia of its people. After the civil war, and economic stagnation — now intensified by the coronavirus pandemic — the report states 100 or more people are now leaving Tunisian towns for Europe every day.

The Times reports:

The number of crossings from Tunisia and Libya from January to June has doubled compared with last year, according to the UN high commissioner for refugees. In June the number of deaths was up by 20 per cent, with a shipwreck near the Tunisian port city of Sfax claiming 61 lives on June 4.

…The civil war in Libya has forced to many to leave and seek a new life, but analysts say the coronavirus outbreak is now a leading factor in driving people to risk the perilous journey.

“The lack of economic opportunities in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis in Tunisia is pushing more people to cross the sea,” said Chiara Cavalcanti, from the UNHCR in Tunisia.

Read more at The Times


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