By Mick Krever, CNN
As Italy warns that it may stop rescuing migrants trying to cross it borders over the Mediterranean, an advocate on the front lines says its time for Europe to step up and help save these desperate people.
“More and more people are leaving out of desperation, and far too many are dying along the migratory route,” William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour.
“We're in a period of unprecedented human mobility and unprecedented multiple complex humanitarian emergencies from Libya to Syria to South Sudan to Central African Republic, Somalia and then all the natural disasters such as the typhoon in the Philippines.”
Italy’s interior minister, Angelino Alfano, says his government cannot handle the volume of people making the journey across the Mediterranean Sea unless the EU steps in to help.
Last October, the country set up a program, Mare Nostrum – the Roman name for the Mediterranean – to deal with the crisis of migrants drowning en route to Europe.
“We believe that there should be shared responsibility among all of the countries that have been receiving migrants,” Swing said. “The top priority has to be to save life.”
Right now, he said, there “are no political processes in place” that seem to have any potential.
“The numbers are great – and I wouldn't make light of that – but you're talking about 50,000 migrants going to an area that is approximately 450 million or 500 million people in all of Europe.”
“So surely there must be a way somehow to share that responsibility.”