An estimated 500 African refugees drowned off the coast of Italy when smugglers recently forced too many people into one boat, according to the United Nations. This incident occurred about one year after the worst refugee drowning incident in April 2015, when 800 people died on their journey from Libya to Europe.
Reports of the 2016 tragedy come from 41 survivors who drifted at sea for three days before a cargo ship brought them to the Greek city of Kalamata.
“The boat was going down, down … all the people died in a matter of minutes,” an Ethiopian man named Mohamed told the International Organization For Migration (IOM), as reported in the Huffington Post. “I saw my wife and my two-month old child [die] at sea, together with my brother-in-law.”
Many of the refugees have been Somalis, prompting one journalist there to start a campaign called “don’t buy death,” designed to encouraged young Somalis to stay and rebuild their country instead of paying smugglers to make the risky journey to Europe.
In Somalia alone, citizens face drought, civil unrest and religious conflict as Muslims often attack and kill Christian converts.
Pray for political and economic stability in North Africa and the Middle East that brings peace to its citizens.