Wednesday 26 April 2017 - 11:52 am

Fri 21-04-2017 15:20 PM

UNICEF: More than 150 refugee children died in Mediterranean in 2017

NEW YORK, 21st April, 2017 (WAM) -- United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, has reported that more than 150 children fleeing war and economic deprivation have died so far this year trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East and North Africa.

In a statement, the UNICEF said, "So far this year 37,000 refugees and economic migrants have reached Italy by sea, about 13 percent of them children. The total number is 42 percent more than in the first three months of 2016."

"Since January as many as 849 people have officially drown in the sea," UNICEF said. Last weekend more than 8,300 people were rescued trying to cross from Libya to Italy.

"It is deeply concerning that vulnerable people, including thousands of children, are risking their lives to reach Europe's shores using this incredibly dangerous route," said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe.