Boat Crisis: Migrant Recalls Journey From Senegal to Italy Via Libya

April 21, 2015 12:49 AM

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Boat Crisis: Migrant Recalls Journey From Senegal to Italy Via Libya

Mahmoud’s journey across the Mediterranean to Europe in mid-April was a hellish two-day ordeal. The 28-year-old vomited uncontrollably as the tight-packed boat tossed on the choppy waters, he recalls, while several passengers died of dehydration and were buried at sea. He was weak and shaken by the time the vessel drifted ashore in Italy, and remains haunted by the experience. “Even now I have a problem in my head,” he told TIME on Monday, recounting a traumatic four-month trip from his home in Senegal into Fortress Europe. “I cannot sleep,” he says, speaking by phone from an immigrant center in Rome, where he is now applying for refugee status. “Many people I met have died trying to cross to Europe.”

With at least 1,000 migrants dead in the Mediterranean this past week—the deadliest week at sea for migrants in memory—E.U. officials are scrambling to devise strategies to halt the armada of smugglers’ boats crossing from North Africa, and to prevent more mass drownings, which is turning the Medite...

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