Voice of America (Washington, DC)

24 August 2014

Africa: Italy Rescues 3,500 Migrants, Finds 18 Bodies At Sea

Photo: Kate Thomas/ IRIN
A boat carrying migrants arrives at the Lampedusa port, escorted by the coastguard (file photo).

Italian authorities say they have rescued 3,500 migrants and found at least 18 bodies in the Mediterranean Sea since Friday.

The number of migrants attempting to reach Italy from Libya and other parts of North Africa has surged as more people attempt to make the journey on calmer summer seas. About 100,000 people have made the journey to Italy this year.

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said she was appalled by the deaths of migrants. She said the European Commission was committed to help Italy deal with efforts to rescue and assist migrants.

Italy said it spent $13 million a month to operate air and sea patrols launched after more than 360 migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa last October.

On Friday, coast guard officials in Libya said a boat carrying at least 200 migrants had capsized, and only about 20 people were rescued.

Libya has become a major departure point for Africans trying to reach Europe to find work and escape from difficult conditions in their home countries. Accidents at sea, usually involving overloaded and unstable vessels, kill hundreds of emigrants from North Africa every year.

Human traffickers have exploited Libya's political chaos and porous borders since 2011, when dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Another Migrant Tragedy Off Italian Coast

A boat carrying migrants arrives at the Lampedusa port, escorted by the coastguard (file photo).

Italian authorities say the number of migrants crossing from Libya to Europe has increased, with over 100 000 arrivals in 2014. This as 3,500 migrants were rescued and at least 18 ... Read more »