Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 19th, 2019

UN Urges Reluctant EU Nations to Help Stranded Migrants

UN Urges Reluctant EU Nations  to Help Stranded Migrants

BRUSSELS — The United Nations refugee agency urgently appealed to European governments Tuesday to let two migrant rescue ships disembark more than 500 passengers who remain stranded at sea as countries bicker over who should take responsibility for them.
The people rescued while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa are on ships chartered by humanitarian aid groups, which the Italian government has banned from its territory. The archipelago nation of Malta has refused to let the ships into the country’s ports.
It’s unclear where they might find safe harbor, even though the Italian island of Lampedusa appears closest. About 150 of the rescued passengers have been on the Spanish-flagged charity ship, the Open Arms, since they were plucked from the Mediterranean 13 days ago.
“This is a race against time,” Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, said in a statement. “Storms are coming, and conditions are only going to get worse.”
While the number of migrants reaching Europe by sea has dropped substantially so far this year, UNHCR says nearly 600 people have died or gone missing in waters between Libya, Italy and Malta in 2019. (AP)