Briefing Notes, 3 July 2012
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 3 July 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR welcomes the prompt and efficient action of the Croatian Coast Guard yesterday (2nd July) in rescuing 65 people adrift on a boat in the Adriatic. The boat was spotted drifting off the Croatian island of Mljet on Sunday night. The Coast Guard crew provided food, water and medical supplies to the people on board and towed the vessel to the safety of Dubrovnik's Gruz harbour yesterday afternoon.
The boat is said to have left Greece and lost power. It was adrift for two days. All the passengers were male, reportedly of 12 different nationalities – including Syrians, Afghans, Somalis and Egyptians.
At the request of the authorities, our partner the Croatian Red Cross is on the ground and providing humanitarian and medical assistance in Gruz harbour, where the passengers are temporarily accommodated. Reportedly some passengers require urgent medical help. Blankets and other basic aid items are also being made available to them. UNHCR is also following up further.
The Mediterranean is one of the busiest irregular mixed migration routes into Europe through Greece, Italy and Malta. Last year was a record in terms of the number of arrivals in Europe via the Mediterranean, with more than 58,000 people making the crossing. According to UNHCR estimates, more than 1,500 people drowned or went missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2011.
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