UNHCR complaint present on Sicilian island "to assist survivors"

Six Syrian refugees, including two young children and an elderly woman, died of thirst and burns during their sea journey to Italy. Breaking the news was UNHCR, which explained in a note on its website that the victims were two children aged 1 and 2, a 12-year-old boy, and three adults, including the grandmother and mother of some of the surviving children.

The news was later confirmed by Chiara Cardoletti, representative for UNHCR, through a Tweet. “Six Syrian refugees including children, women and teenagers lost their lives at sea. They died of thirst, hunger and severe burns. This is unacceptable. Strengthening sea rescue is the only way to prevent these tragedies,” wrote Cardoletti who added, “UNHCR staff are in Pozzallo to help the survivors.”

“This unacceptable loss of life and the fact that the group spent several days adrift before being rescued highlight once again the urgent need to restore a timely and efficient state-led search and rescue mechanism in the Mediterranean,” said Chiara Cardoletti according to whom “Sea rescue is a humanitarian imperative firmly rooted in international law. At the same time, more needs to be done to expand safe and regular channels and create new ones to ensure that people fleeing war and persecution can find safety without putting their lives at further risk.”

© Copyright LaPresse