The first quarter of 2023 witnesses the largest number of migration victims across the Mediterranean for the same period since 2017

The Director-General of the United Nations Organization for Migration, Antonio Vitorino, announced on Wednesday that the first quarter of this year witnessed the largest death toll from migration across the Mediterranean recorded between January and March since 2017, explaining that 441 migrants died on these crossing trips.

Vitorino said that the period between January and March 2023 saw the highest number of victims recorded in migrant crossings across the Mediterranean since 2017.

"The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the central Mediterranean is unbearable," he added.

He pointed to "more than twenty thousand deaths on this road since 2014," stressing, "I fear that the death of these people will become a normal matter."

The International Organization for Migration warned that "during the Easter holidays, 3,000 migrants arrived in Italy, bringing the total number of arrivals since the beginning of the year to 31,192."

The International Organization for Migration noted that delays in search and rescue operations were a critical factor in at least six incidents this year, killing at least 127 of the 441 people.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement that "the complete absence of response during the seventh rescue operation claimed the lives of at least 73 migrants" who are included in the above toll, noting that search and rescue efforts carried out by Non-governmental organizations have decreased significantly in recent months.

"The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the central Mediterranean is intolerable," said Vitorino.

The UN agency's Missing Migrants Project investigates many cases of missing boats in which no survivors and wreckage have been found and which have not received search and rescue operations.

The organization said that about 300 people who were on board these boats are still missing."Saving lives at sea is a legal duty of states," Vitorino stressed.

"We need proactive coordination of countries in search and rescue efforts. 

We call on countries to work together and strive to reduce the loss of human life along migration routes, in a spirit of shared responsibility and solidarity.

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