by Yara Rodrigues Fowler
At least 600 children have died trying to reach safety in Europe so far this year.
This tragic toll means that on average two children died or disappeared every day since 1 January and 26 September.
“Never again” – three years on
On 3 October 2013, nearly 400 refugees and migrants died, in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. They were trying to cross the Mediterranean.
Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said:
“Three years ago, European leaders promised ‘never again’ as images of the shipwreck and coffins were brought to international attention.
“But since then, more than 10,400 men, women and children have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe by sea.”
Leaders must take action
Kevin urged international leaders to act now:
“The Mediterranean sea has become an unmarked grave for children fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty.
“The international community cannot continue to ignore these tragedies – we have an obligation to protect children, be it here in Europe or during their treacherous journeys.”
Our life-saving ship
We’ve been working in Italian ports for more than eight years, using our expertise to help keep lone children safe when they arrive.
But this isn’t enough. Too many children are dying before reaching Europe’s shores.
That’s why we’ve launched a life-saving Search and Rescue ship, Vos Hestia, in the Mediterranean.
In under a month, our ship has already saved more than 600 people, including around 140 children – some younger than five years old.
We need your help to keep this ship going.
Children’s names have been changed to protect safety