Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Spain saves 157 migrants in 5 boats crossing from Africa

At least 34 bodies of migrants many of them young children were recovered from the sea off Libya after some 200 migrants tumbled into rough waters when their Spain saves 157 migrants in 5 boats crossing from Africa
Nellie Chapman | 30 May, 2017, 04:07

At least 1,400 people have drowned so far this year trying to make the perilous journey across the sea to Italy, according to United Nations figures, while more than 50,000 migrants reached Italian coasts, majority through Libya.

Over the past two weeks, nearly 10,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued off the coast of Libya, where smugglers cram them onto unsafe boats.

At least 10 bodies were also found by the Italian coastguard, officials said.

Illegal north African immigrants wait to be transfered out of the southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa, March 31, 2011. At least 34 migrants, many of them young children, drowned on Wednesday.

In the latest rescues, over 1,000 people were picked up at sea on Sunday and brought to Sicily. IOM's Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports past year at this time 982 migrants or refugees were reported lost in these waters, out of a total of 1,398 believed lost along three Mediterranean crossing routes.

Thousands die after setting sail in overloaded smugglers' boats or tiny dinghies that are unfit for the open sea.

"According to survivors they stayed for two days holding their boat (which became unseaworthy due to overloading) until they were rescued".

A year ago 181,000 migrants entered Europe, 90 percent of whom came via Libya. One or the main topics of the G-7 summit in Taormina is migration, and Oxfam is anxious that the approach of the leaders of the seven most developed countries will only be on security and border control.

Summit host Italy had made Africa a priority for the gathering, picking Sicily as a venue as it was "at the heart of the Mediterranean" and a "bridge between Europe and Africa", according to Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

But "the Americans killed the project and made it known end of April that they refused to have any separate declaration", Friederike Roder of One, an NGO that monitors G7 meetings, told AFP. The G7 only managed to "reaffirm the sovereign rights of states to control their own borders and set clear limits on net migration levels".