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Migration increased in 2020, many will continue to flee to Europe – UNHCR

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

The number of asylum seekers who fled Tunisia last year quadrupled, while departures from Algeria tripled and those from Libya increased by nearly two thirds, according to a UNHCR report.

But while these departures saw the number of people landing in Italy almost tripling in 2020, those who sought asylum in Malta and Spain dropped, with at least 1,064 people dying or going missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

In all, around 55,300 people arrived in Malta, Spain, and Italy through the central and western Mediterranean routes, representing an overall increase of 24% over the previous year, according to UNHCR’s 2021 action plan for western and central Mediterranean Sea routes.

Photo from UNHCR's Routes towards the western and central Mediterranean Sea action plan.Photo from UNHCR’s Routes towards the western and central Mediterranean Sea action plan

The UN’s human rights agency warned that several will continue to seek asylum out of Africa. Escalating conflict and displacement in the Sahel has forced some 2.9 million people to flee, and the dire conditions in neighboring countries and lack of safe and legal pathways will continue to see many attempting risky sea journeys, it said.

Times of Malta

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