Over 700 people are believed to have died attempting to journey to Europe by sea in just the past week, the UN Refugee Agency said on Sunday.
A steady flow of refugees has been making the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya into Italy. According to Reuters, at least 14,000 people have been rescued from the waters since Monday. But a series of major shipwrecks produced a staggering loss of life in a mere three-day period.
From the Associated Press:
The largest number of missing and presumed dead was aboard a wooden fishing boat being towed by another smugglers' boat from the Libyan port of Sabratha that sank Thursday. Estimates by police and humanitarian organizations range from around 400 to about 550 missing in that sinking alone.
One survivor from Eritrea, 21-year-old Filmon Selomon, told The Associated Press that water started seeping into the second boat after three hours of navigation, and that the migrants tried vainly to get the water out of the sinking boat.
Doctors Without Borders, which has been on the front lines of the refugee crisis, tweeted that the number of dead could be even higher:
"We will never know the exact numbers," the organization added in another tweet.