At least 880 migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in the last week, according to survivors’ accounts reported to the United Nations refugee agency.
William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said this year is proving to be “particularly deadly” on the Mediterranean, with some 2,510 lives lost compared with 1,855 over the same period a year ago.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the figures must act as a “wake up call” and urged David Cameron to take in more child refugees.
The UNHCR figures come after previous reports suggested some 700 migrants and refugees died in Mediterranean shipwrecks over three days last week.
Mr Spindler urged the European Union to allow for more legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe, and said it was “shameful” that the bloc had resettled fewer than 2,000 people under a plan announced last year to resettle 160,000.
Mr Farron said: “These UN figures must be a wake up call for governments, including ours.
“We can and must do more to deal with the unfolding humanitarian disaster in our doorstep, including rethinking the toxic EU-Turkey deal which is pushing more people to the deadly route from Libya to Italy. Nearly one of every 20 people who make the journey there die.
“David Cameron must ensure we take in our fair share of child refugees now before even more fall victim to this vile trade.