Left Menu
Development News Edition

Senegalese youth decry illegal migration after surge in deaths at sea

The NGO AlarmPhone, which supports rescue missions at sea, said it had registered 480 people dead or missing in the last two weeks of October from boats that left Senegal, including those killed in the shipwreck that triggered Friday's day of mourning. Unemployment stood at 16.9% last year in the nation of 16 million people, where more than half the population is under the age of 20, according to the official statistics agency.

Reuters | Updated: 13-11-2020 22:25 IST | Created: 13-11-2020 22:25 IST
Senegalese youth decry illegal migration after surge in deaths at sea

By Nellie Peyton DAKAR, Nov 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Young people in Senegal held a national day of mourning on Friday for 140 migrants killed in a shipwreck as they headed to Europe last month, sparking debate about unemployment and migration in the West African country.

Friday's unofficial commemoration was spread by users of social media, where young Senegalese criticised authorities over their response to the disaster and for failing to deter migration by creating enough jobs at home. "As a Senegalese youth, I feel crushed," said Pape Demba, 28, who lives in the capital, Dakar, and organised the day of mourning on Twitter using the hashtag #LeSenegalEnDeuil ("Senegal in mourning").

He has also created a Twitter account, @221Help, to share job announcements and requests for employment, already managing to help a handful of people find work or internships, he said. "My objective is really to create a movement to take our future into our own hands, because I don't want to count anymore on this government which is incapable of creating jobs," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Senegal's government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There has been a significant rise this year in the number of migrants taking rickety boats from West Africa to the Canary Islands, a Spanish territory, in search of better opportunities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

In September alone, 14 boats carrying 663 migrants left Senegal and about a quarter of them ran into difficulties or were shipwrecked, the IOM said. It has not yet compiled data for October, but said departures and deaths continued to rise. The NGO AlarmPhone, which supports rescue missions at sea, said it had registered 480 people dead or missing in the last two weeks of October from boats that left Senegal, including those killed in the shipwreck that triggered Friday's day of mourning.

Unemployment stood at 16.9% last year in the nation of 16 million people, where more than half the population is under the age of 20, according to the official statistics agency. Traditional livelihoods such as farming and fishing are no longer viable for the growing population, and youth flocking to crowded cities have found that jobs are scarce there too.

However, people with work also leave because they want to earn more, often spurred by unrealistic dreams of what awaits them in Europe, the IOM said. "Misinformation from smugglers leaves many people unaware of the realities and risks of irregular migration," said Bakary Doumbia, the agency's chief of mission in Senegal.

"The government is making many efforts at the moment to prevent such tragedies from happening again. Together, we are working on raising awareness," he said. The perilous sea passage to the Canary Islands was popular more than a decade ago, but as political dynamics shifted more people started taking the land route through the Sahara desert to the Mediterranean.

Land border closures due to COVID-19 may be one reason people are returning now to the old ocean route, the IOM said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

China: A savior for emerging markets or a poison pill?

... ...

Future of Urban Planning: Artificial Intelligence guiding the way

Advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help us understand our cities better and derive useful insights from real-time data collected through automated models....

Videos

Latest News

Enhanced trade partnership first step towards UK-India FTA, says UK minister

Britain and India are committed to an enhanced trade partnership as the first step towards a positive free trade agreement in future and plans are expected to be further formalised during the visit of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India i...

CSIR named as one of South Africa’s top employers

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR, an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation, is celebrating being named as one of South Africas top employers.Being certified as a Top Employer showcases an organisations de...

South African Muslim group safely buries its virus dead

Not even the full protective gear can mask the respect with which the men wash the body of a newly deceased member of their Muslim community.To Allah we belong. Unto him shall we return. Ghusal Room 1, reads a sign, referring to ghusal, the...

Witnesses: Eritrean soldiers loot, kill in Ethiopia's Tigray

The Eritrean soldiers pockets clinked with stolen jewelry. Warily, Zenebu watched them try on dresses and other clothing looted from homes in a town in Ethiopias embattled Tigray region.They were focused on trying to take everything of valu...

Give Feedback