The Mediterranean swallowed 289 children during 2023, and UNICEF calls for solutions


UN reports showed that the scope of exploitation and death among the displaced and those forcibly leaving their countries is expanding more and more, especially among women and children, who are the weakest link, noting that the Mediterranean Sea swallowed 289 children during the past year.

In its official reports, UNICEF indicated that the number of children who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe had doubled in the first half of the year 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, and the organization called on world leaders to “go beyond condolences and strive resolutely to find effective solutions.”

Verena Knaus, UNICEF Migration and Displacement Global Lead, said, “The Central Mediterranean is one of the deadliest migration routes in the world for children, who continue to flee their homes due to conflicts and climate change.”

She added, “In 2023, 289 children died at sea, the equivalent of 11 children every week,” according to the “InfoMigrants” website.

The organization estimated that 11,600 children made this trip during the first six months of 2023, which is double the number in the same period in 2022.

According to UNICEF, the number of unaccompanied or separated children has tripled in the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period the year before, noting that these children represent 71 percent of all children arriving in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route.

The UN agency warned that girls traveling alone are particularly vulnerable to violence before, during and after their journeys.

At the end of June 2023, the number of people forced to flee globally reached 110 million, that is, 1.6 million more people than at the end of 2022. The Commission explained that the number of people forced to flee increased by 4 million during the period from June 2023 to September 2023, bringing the total number to 114 million people, and noted that more than half of the people fleeing do not cross international borders.

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