Hundreds of Migrants Drown Trying to Reach Europe

The drowning death of hundreds of people trying to emigrate to Europe through Libya in late March is a sign of the desperation of the poor and persecuted, and of the failure of government efforts to stop illegal immigration, several humanitarian agencies have said. "These people have no alternative but to entrust themselves to human smugglers who often treat them as meat," said Berardino Guarino, project director for Fondazione Migrantes, an Italian Catholic organization that assists migrants. At least 200, and perhaps as many as 300, immigrants were listed as missing and presumed dead after three boats sank off the coast of Libya in rough waters March 27-29. An Italian merchant ship rescued another 300 people and recovered 21 dead bodies from the water the night of March 28-29 after the fishing boat they were on sent out a distress call. Authorities said those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya included people from Bangladesh, Egypt and other parts of Africa. Refugees and the desperate poor from Asia and Africa cross the Libyan desert to the coast where they pay smugglers for a place on crowded, rickety fishing boats headed for Europe.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who was brutally murdered in 1981 in the Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor, is shown baptizing a child in this undated photo. (CNS) 
Before Father Rother died for his people, he had farmed with them, listened to them and spoken of God to them.
Terrance KleinJune 28, 2017
Pope Francis greets young refugees during a conference on families and adolescent education at Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran on June 19. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
“This is a pretty broad exception to the ban,” David Robinson says, “and it does allow for legitimate entry into the United States for people who can pass the screening process, which is what we want.”
Kevin ClarkeJune 28, 2017
The texture and variety of Stevens's new album creates liminal spaces between the sacred and the profane.
Reconnect Brooklyn is investing in people rather than properties, the residents who are struggling to remain in Bed-Stuy amid rising costs.
Wyatt MasseyJune 28, 2017