The last two weeks for humanity were heartbreaking: although at least 14,000 refugees were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, more than 1,040 people drowned, and there is an undetermined number of missing.
Most of the refugees come from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other African and Asian countries.
According to aid and refugee agencies, 83 children are among the dead, 20 of the children who drowned were newborns.
Libyan Red Crescent reported on Sunday that an additional 133 refugee bodies have washed up on the shore at the western Libyan city of Zuwara.
At least five children were among them.
The most tragic incident occurred when 700 people drowned off the coast of Libya. The Mediterranean Sea has become a cemetery. A mass graveyard for men, women, and children.
— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) May 29, 2016
Federico Soda, Director of the Organization of Migration (IOM) Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome noted: “The increase in numbers of arrivals is attributable, in part, to better weather, and in part to the use of bigger wooden boats that can carry more people than the rubber boats usually used. Refugees trying to reach European, such as Italian and Greek shores with wooden and rubber boats.”
According to an IOM report, since the beginning of 2016, the estimated death toll stands at 2,443 with an unknown number of people missing.
— IOM (@IOM_news) May 30, 2016
Compared to first five months of 2015, the number of dead has risen by 34 percent.
Stefanos, an Eritrean survivor, told an IOM worker how the boat he was on sank during the dangerous journey and how he witnessed watching the deaths of women and children, not being able to do anything about it.
“We were taking on water, but we had a pump that helped us to push the water out. When the pump ran out of fuel, we asked for more fuel to the captain of the first boat, who said no. At this point, there was nothing left to do: the water was everywhere, and we slowly started to sink. There were about 35 women and 40 children next to me: they all died."
Incidents sparked debates and concerns in European countries on how to stem the refugee influx and prevent new arrivals.
Plan to stop the refugee influx and deaths
Most of the European Union member states closed their borders and erected razor wire fences to stop illegal passages.
Refugees have been stranded on the borders of various countries waiting for permission from the governments to open the borders and let them pass.
To solve this problem, in March, Turkey and the EU signed the "one in, one out" agreement.
According to the agreement, Turkey will take in all irregular refugees as of April 4, while on the same date resettlement of Syrians in Turkey to the EU states was launched.
The agreement aims to prevent the loss of lives in the Aegean Sea, to replace illegal immigration with legal immigration and break the refugee smuggling networks.
The agreement only covers the refugees arriving in Greece from Turkey via the Aegean Sea. Refugees attempting the dangerous journey on the Mediterranean to reach Europe are not a part of the agreement between Turkey and the EU.
It is estimated that Turkey is hosting more than 3 million refugees across 26 refugee camps in the country.
How smugglers bring refugees to Europe
According to a report by the European Union border management agency Frontex, more than a million refugees arrived on the Italian and Greek shores in 2015.
The transports of the refugees are carried out by human smugglers, who have pocketed an estimated 4 billion Euros last year.
Most of the smugglers belong to criminal organisations and are also involved in selling illegal drugs and weapons.
Smugglers inform the refugees about the asylum processes in various European countries and sell them fake documents.
Most of the refugees buy fake Syrian passports, ID cards, birth certificates and residential permits due to the civil war taking place in the country, as the asylum process for someone fleeing from war may give them priority during the selection process.
Social media is an effective tool for smugglers and refugees to get in contact with each other.