The wars of the Middle East have created a wave of refugees and migrants in numbers that have not been seen since the end of WWII. The mass migration has created a tightrope for European leaders. Cutbacks in Italian rescue operations were made as a deterrent to the flow of migration across the Mediterranean, but tens of thousands are reported to have made the crossing at the cost of over 3,000 who died in the attempt last year. Recent estimates project that the total number landing in Italy this year will exceed last year’s total of 170,000. Already 11,000 have been rescued, but more than 1,000 refugees were feared lost in wrecks over the past week. The disasters have brought grim attention to a problem that is only getting larger.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has been quoted as saying that there are “no more excuses,” and she has demanded immediate action as she arrived at an emergency meeting on the migration crisis. Outrage is growing over policy that is creating a humanitarian disaster as a means to discouraging refugees from making the dangerous sea journey.