World joins hands to tackle Mediterranean immigration problems

(VOVWORLD) - Spanish maritime safety authorities recently rescued 251 migrants, including children, who were making the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe. The incident has once again raised the alarm amid deteriorating illegal immigration in the region.  

The people were saved "from five improvised vessels, all in the Alboran Sea," Spain's maritime safety authorities said, referring to the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean.

The number of migrants arriving by sea on Spanish shores suddenly soared last year, with the figure tripling to more than 15,000, according to the International Organization for Migration. From the beginning of 2017, around 114,000 people have crossed the sea to Italy, 3000 of whom have lost their lives or went missing during their trips to a dream land.

Last September, the European Union announced plans to receive at least 50,000 refugees directly from conflict areas in Africa and the Middle East. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and other world leaders have hosted numerous meetings to seek measures to prevent the human flow from Africa to Europe in order to minimize the number of people dying during the crossings.

At a summit recently hosted by the International Organization for Immigration, initiatives and solutions have been put forward. France contributed an idea of setting up migration centers in some African countries considered transiting points on migrants’ routes to Europe. These centers, which are close to refugees’ homelands, will prevent them from risking their lives to illegally cross the Mediterranean.

European countries have also proposed development aids and financial sources for their African partners in exchange for help to curb the flow of refugees. The aid will be used to implement training programs to help them find better jobs or improve the living conditions at refugee camps and shelters for homeless people.

Despite such efforts, the immigration crisis continues to deteriorate. Experts forecast refugees may change their routes to Europe via the Black Sea instead of the Mediterranean in the future. Countries involved are urged for more concerted efforts to cope with this challenging issue.