The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: Risking Everything for a Chance at a Better Life

People from impoverished and war-torn countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia continue to flee their homes in huge numbers, making perilous journeys to Europe in search of security, opportunity, and a new home. The United Nations estimates that 60,000 migrants have already made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea this year, landing in Southern Europe, while another 1,800 attempted the crossing but did not survive. After making deals with traffickers and traveling overland to Turkey or the near-anarchy of Libya, suffering at the hands of smugglers, and dodging war zones and government checkpoints, these people are crammed onto tiny or antiquated vessels and launched into the Mediterranean. Often, distress calls are sounded soon after they depart, and they then must rely on European rescue vessels to pick them up, gambling that they will be reached before their boats capsize. The European Commission is now proposing EU member nations take in the rising wave of migrants based on a quota scheme, while the European Union has proposed conducting search-and-destroy operations against empty Libyan smuggling boats.
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Ethan Miller / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Tank Slippers, Baby Sifaka, Molten Steel

    A pangolin in South Africa, a slap shot in Florida, canoe slalom in Australia, a march for the environment in Brussels, Makha Bucha Day in Bangkok, and much more

  • Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Closing In on the Last ISIS Stronghold

    A U.S.-backed coalition now surrounds the last remaining ISIS holdout—the final vestige of a so-called caliphate that once controlled vast territories but that is now boxed in and desperate—in eastern Syria.

  • Ozkan Bilgin / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos of the Super Snow Moon

    Last night, skywatchers around the world were treated to views of the so-called super snow moon, and photographers across the globe captured the event.

  • Vincenzo Pinto / AFP / Getty

    Carnival in Venice 2019

    Colorful images from the opening days of the festival—“Tutta colpa della Luna!