So far this year, around 11 children have died or been lost at sea every week while trying to cross the central Mediterranean route to Europe, according to the Unicef.
In its latest update, Unicef estimates that since 2018, around 1,500 children have died or gone missing during the perilous journey, reports Xinhua news agency.
These figures don’t include the situations where vessels were lost at sea with no survivors or leaving behind no records, meaning the actual numbers are probably much higher.
“In an attempt to find safety, reunite with families, and seek a more hopeful future, too many children are boarding boats on the shores of the Mediterranean and end up losing their lives or going missing,” Catherine Russell, Unicef’s Executive Director, said in a statement.
Italy is the main European landing place for migrants seeking to gain refugee status in Europe.
The numbers have been rising, the Unicef said, noting that around 11,600 migrant children — many of them traveling alone — have landed on Italy’s shores so far this year, around twice as many as during the first half of 2022.
According to data from Italy’s Ministry of the Interior, more than 73,000 migrants landed in Italy by sea during the first 12 days of July, compared to just over 31,000 over the same period last year and more than the total number of arrivals in Italy during all of 2021 when the number of arrivals declined due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic.