Italy and NGOs rescue more than a thousand migrants in two days in the Central Mediterranean | International
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Italian coast guards and two rescue NGOs have rescued this weekend in the Central Mediterranean more than a thousand migrants who were trying to reach the Italian coast in precarious boats. Several Coast Guard and Finance Guard patrol boats, supported by a merchant ship, helped 674 people this Saturday, some when they were already in the water, crowding a fishing boat that had drifted 124 miles (about 200 kilometers) from Calabria. Between Saturday and this Sunday, two NGO rescue boats, the Sea Watch 3 and the ocean vikingThey also saved more than 500 shipwrecks in Italian and international territorial waters and hope that they will be indicated a safe port for their disembarkation, sources from these organizations explained to Agence France Presse.
For at least five of the migrants on the trawler, the rescue came too late. The statement from the Italian Coast Guard that reported this Sunday of the discovery of the ship confirmed that there were five bodies on board the ship. The circumstances of the deaths have not transpired; the bodies were transferred to the morgue in the Sicilian city of Messina. The 674 survivors landed in this and other ports of Sicily and Calabria.
The good weather conditions and the calm sea partly explain these massive rescues in a summer season in which the number of migrant landings and rescues in the Central Mediterranean tends to skyrocket, the migratory route that both the United Nations and the organizations that work with migrants define as the most dangerous in the world. The fishing boat whose 674 passengers were rescued this Saturday night was spotted by an Italian Navy maritime patrol plane and by a Frontex plane, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Previously, the Coast Guard had rescued other migrants in other precarious boats. In one such rescue, a woman had to be evacuated by helicopter due to her poor health.
This Sunday morning, the Norwegian-flagged ship ocean viking, from the NGO SOS Mediterranee, also spotted a crowded rubber boat in international waters off the Libyan coast and rescued 87 people, including 57 unaccompanied minors. “None were wearing life jackets,” the organization reported in a tweet. The day before, the search and rescue ship of the German NGO Sea Watch embarked 428 people, including several small children and two women traveling on four overcrowded barges, after being alerted by the Alarm Phone, an NGO that receives calls from migrants in difficulty in the Central Mediterranean.
“The Sea Watch 3 now has 428 people on board, rescued from 4 overcrowded boats in 12 hours on Saturday,” the German NGO said in a tweet, while criticizing the EU’s position on these arrivals and calling for “the walls” to be torn down. At the moment, she reported in another subsequent message on Twitter, only a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy, her husband, and a child with serious burns and her parents have disembarked, and for medical reasons.
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🔴 Medical evacuation from the #SeaWatch3! The Italian Coast Guard has brought ashore a heavily pregnant woman accompanied by her husband & a child with severe burns with her parents.
The remaining 439 people are still waiting for a port of safety. pic.twitter.com/DVt68Adqes
— Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) July 24, 2022
The more than 1,000 migrants rescued over the weekend were not the only ones to have crossed the Sicilian Channel in the Central Mediterranean. Another 750 migrants, mostly Pakistanis, Afghans, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Somalis, Nigerians, Senegalese and Eritreans, all from Libyan territory, arrived in Lampedusa by their own means between this Saturday and this Sunday and are already in the center of reception of that island, which previously housed some 1,300 people, when its capacity is only 350. Just a week ago, the overcrowding and the state of abandonment of the center, with nearly 2,000 people housed and mountains of accumulated garbage, led to the Italian Navy to send a ship to transfer nearly 600 migrants to other cities.
More than 34,000 asylum seekers and migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of this year, up from 25,500 in the same period last year, according to the Italian Interior Ministry. Mediterranean countries located on the main migratory routes to Europe expect more than 150,000 arrivals this year, as food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine have fueled the famine that already threatened many countries, so a new wave is expected migration from Africa and the Middle East.
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