By Khalifa Hemed
Published March 11, 2017
The United Nations Organisation (UN) has launched a campaign to inform migrants from 15 countries – mostly in western and northern Africa‘s Tunisia and Egypt – about the dangers of migrating irregularly across the Sahara desert, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea.
Dubbed Aware Migrants campaign (AwareMigrants.org) and managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN’s specialised agency for migration, the initiative is launched in the target or source countries of transit and origin in Africa through social media, TV and radio.
Flavio Di Giacomo and Shiraz Jerbi of IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean are on March 15, 2017 at 10:00 GMT going to host an online press conference to talk about the campaign and the continuing plight of migrants and to give journalists the opportunity to pose their questions live via internet.
Barely 83 days into 2017, some 19567 migrants have arrived by sea in Italy while 521 have died at sea – 50 more compared to the same period in 2016. The majority of these migrants are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and the Gambia – same as in 2016.
Some of the migrants who make it to Europe and share their ordeal with IOM reveal that their journey was far more dangerous than expected. Many are unaware of the dangers and risks of migrating with the assistance of smugglers, not only at sea or in the desert, but also in transit countries like Libya.
While recalling the life-threatening risks along their journey is often very distressing and in many instances for many, most migrants wish to forget and move forward with their lives and therefore tend not to share their experience with peers who are still back home.