Pope Francis called for the international community to act to prevent tragedies like the one that occurred July 25, 2019, in which dozens of migrants lost their lives in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean.
“I learned with grief the news of the tragic shipwreck, which happened in past days in the waters of the Mediterranean, in which dozens of migrants lost their lives, among them women and children,” the Holy Father said after praying the noonday Angelus on July 28, 2019, with the crowds of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. “I renew my heartfelt appeal to the International Community to act promptly and decisively to avoid the repetition of similar tragedies and to guarantee the safety and dignity of all. I invite you to pray, together with me, for the victims and for their families. And also ask from the heart: ‘Father, why?’ [A minute of silence followed].”
The July 25 disaster off Libya, with reports of some 150 lives having been lost, underscores once again the terrible urgency of our repeated pleas to European and other governments for restoring sea rescues and help with alleviating the suffering of the thousands of refugees and migrants caught in the conflict in Libya, according to the UNHCR, the United Nation’s Refugee Agency.
Should the toll of 150 lives lost be confirmed, yesterday’s shipwreck will be the biggest known incident since May 2017. Even before this incident, 669 deaths had been reported on the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2019, UNHCR said.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “The worst Mediterranean tragedy of the year has just occurred. Restoring rescue at sea, an end to refugee and migrant detention in Libya, increasing safe pathways out of Libya must happen now before it is too late for many more desperate people.”