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Italian Authorities Rescue 1,500 Migrants at Sea in 24 Hours

Monday, 06 April 2015

According to official figures, more than 3,000 migrants perished attempting the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean last year. Italian navy and coastguard ships rescued more than 1,500 migrants, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, from the southern Mediterranean in a 24 hour span, officials reported.

 Authorities released a public statement stating that the migrants were rescued in separate operations involving two coastguard vessels and one navy ship Saturday. All the migrants were taken to immigration centers in the island of Lampedusa or ports in Sicily.

Over the last couple of years, an increasing number of migrants from fleeing wars and violence in Africa and the Middle East have been attempting to cross into Europe through the Mediterranean, with thousands dying at sea while attempting to reach their destination.

According to figures provided by immigration authorities, about 170,000 migrants entered Europe through Italy last year by way of the dangerous sea crossing organized by human traffickers. More than 3,000 perished at sea, with the majority of the vessels departing from Libya. Meanwhile, during the first two months of 2015, migrant arrivals were up 43 percent versus the same period of 2014, officials said.

NGOs report that in some regions, trafficking of migrants to Europe has become more lucrative than drug trafficking. The Italian government along with the international community has launched rescue operations, however some experts say improved rescue capacity in Mediterranean waters is necessary.


Source: Telesur

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