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650,000 migrants ready to leave Libya for Europe, UN report reveals

Around 650,000 migrants in Libya are currently waiting to immigrate to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, a report from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed.

According to the report, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to influence migration flows into Europe considerably. However, the global crisis that has resulted from the coronavirus has made forecasting migration flows difficult.

“The global crisis caused by the pandemic is unprecedented and it is difficult to predict its impact on human trafficking and migrant smuggling,” the report’s author writes, adding that economic fallout from the virus could cause the number of foreigners moving to find a job to surge.

Since January, a total of 3,366 migrants have landed in Italy, compared to 667 in the same period last year, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports. That’s more than a 400 percent increase in just one year.

“This suggests that the travel and movement restrictions caused by COVID-19 are not stopping the movement of people fleeing conflict, violence and dangerous and inhuman conditions,” the report states, adding that migrants have no choice but to use the services of people smugglers.

“Information from Libya, where around 650,000 migrants and refugees are currently registered, suggests that the Covid-19 public health crisis has not discouraged people from trying to reach Europe.”

As Voice of Europe has reported, migrant boat landings in Italy have increased considerably in the past month. Last week, roughly 400 North Africans disembarked illegally on the beach of Palma di Montechiar in Sicily. A mass landing of that size hasn’t occurred in Italy for years.
Despite border closures and national lockdowns, migrant traffic along the Balkan route has also increased in recent weeks, as Voice of Europe has reported.

In its report, the UNODC predicts that “Future economic downturns are likely to have an impact in terms of movements of people to the richer countries.”

Voice Of Europe
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