Greater than 1,300 migrants introduced ashore in Italy after a number of rescues – World
Greater than 1,300 migrants have been rescued in three separate operations off the southern tip of Italy, the coastguard mentioned on Saturday, two weeks after at the very least 74 individuals died when their boat hit rocks near the coast.
Rising numbers of migrant arrivals have piled stress on Italy’s conservative authorities, which took workplace final October promising to cut back the move solely to see a pointy improve in such landings this yr from each North Africa and Turkey.
The coastguard mentioned one in every of its vessels had taken 500 migrants off one boat greater than 160 kilometres out to sea, and subsequently took them to town of Reggio Calabria.
An extra 379 migrants had been faraway from a separate vessel in the identical neighborhood and will likely be dropped at land shortly.
“The rescues [were] advanced as a result of boats being overloaded with migrants and the unfavourable sea situations,” the coastguard mentioned in a press release.
One other packed fishing boat carrying 487 migrants was escorted into the Calabrian port of Crotone, lashed to a tug to assist in giving it stability.
Native officers mentioned an extra 200 individuals had been picked up off the coast of Sicily and can be ferried to Catania later within the day, whereas the airforce was flying migrants out of a packed reception centre on the island of Lampedusa.
Greater than 17,000 individuals have reached Italy to date this yr, together with round 4,000 this week, in comparison with 6,000 within the first 2.5 months of 2022. A whole lot have additionally died making an attempt to cross the Mediterranean and attain Europe.
The body of a young girl was recovered on Saturday close to where a migrant boat broke apart on February 26, bringing the death toll from that one disaster to 74. Seventy-nine people survived the shipwreck, but around 30 are still missing, presumed dead.
In all, the United Nations estimates 300 migrants have died in the central Mediterranean so far this year.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Italian authorities should have done more to prevent the disaster. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has rejected the suggestion and looked to pin the blame entirely on human traffickers.
Her cabinet on Thursday introduced tougher jail terms for people smugglers and promised to open up more channels for legal migration. Late last year, it cracked down on charity rescue boats, accusing them of acting as a taxi service for migrants.
The charities denied this was the case. The measure has led to a sharp reduction in the number of rescue ships patrolling the Mediterranean, without apparently dissuading migrants from putting to sea.
Enrico Borghi, a senator with the centre-left Democratic Party, accused the government of bungling the crisis.
“[It] thinks it can solve such a profound problem through media posturing, the criminal code and fake efforts at appearing tough,” he wrote on Twitter. “The result: landings have tripled with the Meloni government.”
Meloni herself issued a statement on Saturday, saying the only solution lay with a joint European effort to strengthen the EU’s borders and enhance cooperation with expulsions.