07 July 2006

July 2006


Sad record for the last month: 97 migrants died along the routes from Libya to Italy and from Morocco to Spain. Once again people died at Melilla Spanish enclave in Morocco, crossing the border fence. Between the victims 58 people were missing. Died also 8 children and 2 babies.

Nine children. "Looking at the children's bodies floating around the boat has been really heart-breaking. People aboard looked like ghosts. They were in unbelievable conditions. They didn't have the force to speak, neither to scream or to ask for help". Vincenzo Nardulli - captain of the fishing boat "Saverio Ciglia" - remembers in this way the scene of the rescue when Sunday 30th July, at the day-breack, succoured 40 miles off Malta a small boat carrying migrants sailed from Libia. The ship had been going adrift from 6 days. Under a burning sun, without water neither food, 17 people lost their lives. Among them 8 children, a baby and 5 women. Four of the children were brothers. They died with their mother. The only survivor of the family is the greater son, 16 years old. All the bodies were thrown in the sea by the 13 surviving fellows. In the afternoon of that same Sunday died in Palermo's hospital, where it had been hospitalized in coma, one of the survivors of the 29th July's tragedy, when at 130 km off Lampedusa island was rescued a boat going adrift from 20 days after an engine failure. Twenty days of warmth and thirst, which killed 13 of the passengers. Their bodies were thrown in the water by the 14 survivor fellow.

Sad epilogue of a damned month. From the 1st up to the 31 July at least 97 people died on the route between Libya and Italy and between Morocco and Canary islands, in Spain. Among them 58 people were missing. The rise in victims - in June they had been 38 and 90 in May (including 44 people died in a street incident) - is due to the increase in disembarking, because of the summer good season. In the last 15 days of July about 2.000 people arrived in Lampedusa island, and they were 9.500 since the beginning of the year, 2.000 more than during the same period in 2005. The same rise happened in the Canary islands, where in the first 6 months of 2005 disembarked 11.155 people, more than the double compared with the 4.751 who arrived during all the 2005.

Sailing to Canary island 14 people lost their life in July, among them a baby. Then 21 people died and other 9 were missing after the 4th July shipwreck off Laayoun, in Morocco. Other 3 migrants died in Melilla Spanish enclave in Morocco crossing the border "alambrada" fence. Also tunisian waters were witness of the umpteenth tragedy when, the 26th of July, off Mahdia a boat left from Zuwarah, in Libya, was rescued: 17 from the 25 fellows were died.

Two days before, in Sicily, it had been find close to the Dirillo river mouth, along the Gela's coast, the bodies of 2 drowned men. Farer in the sea, 200 meters from the seaside, the body of the third victim was floating on the water: a moroccan woman, 24 years old. In her bags were found a letter to a person who she were going to reach in Italy, some photos, and a ticket with three telephone numbers. The sister, who lives and works in Italy, at Modena, recognize her. For her now it will probably start the repatriation odyssey: bureaucracy and chargers. The same odyssey which are still holding blocked in Gela the bodies of three Eritreans drowned one year ago - the 11 September of 2005 -: 12.450 euro separates them from their families.

The numbers of a tragedy. According to Fortress Europe since 1988 it has been reported the death of 4.973 people along the European frontiers, including 1.593 bodies missing in the Mediterranean sea. Moreover, a march 2006 Spanish Police report spoke about 1.200 people missing between Mauritania and Canary islands during November and December 2005.
In the Sicily channel, from Libya and Tunisia toward Malta and Italy, 1.769 people died including 976 missing. In the Aegean sea, from Turkey to Greece, 396 people drowned, among them 164 were missing. On the Spanish route, from Mauritania and Morocco toward Canary Islands and the south of Spain, 1.039 people lost their lives, 234 of whom were missing.
Hidden in trucks or in containers loaded on cargo vessels directed to the european ports, 367 people were found dead. Then 19 people were shot dead by Spanish and Moroccan police along the fence at the border of Spanish enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla and at least others 9 were killed by police in Turkey, former Yugoslavia and Cyprus. The mine-fields along the turkish greek border killed 88 people. At least 133 persons died dehydrated trying to cross the Sahara towards Libya and at least 560 people were killed during the anti-foreign riots in the northwest libyan city of Zawiyah, erupted in september 2000. 34 people froze to death in their tracks through the icy mountains at the border in Turkey, Greece and Slovakia, then 51 persons drowned crossing rivers delimiting the frontier between Croatia and Bosnia; Turkey and Greece; Slovakia and Austria; Slovenia and Italy