Italy has confirmed the death of 40 migrants who were trying to get to the nation in a packed boat. The crisis, which is only getting worse, has left thousands dead and many more missing. Hundreds of migrants risk their lives everyday to get to Greece or Italy.
The Italian navy confirmed the sad news on social media but also revealed that they saved many. The Corriere della Sera newspaper revealed that the migrants who lost their lives were in the hold of the vessel.
An Italian navy helicopter was checking out the area when they saw the boat, which was packed and was already sinking. The tragedy happened 21 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, south of Lampedusa, according to a reporter from RaiNews TV.
After seeing what was happening, an Italian navy boat was sent in to help with the rescue, but by then it was too late. When the sailors got on they discovered the bodies. Commander Massimo Tozzi said they were faced with an emotional scene. Many of the bodies were floating in the water but some remained inside. In the rescue operation, 312 people were saved, including 45 women and three children. They were taken in by the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot.
Many More Rescued Today
The tragedy did not stop the migrants from coming over, close to 400 other migrants making the dangerous cross were rescued in the Mediterranean earlier today. Many of them were taken in by vessels from other European countries, who are currently helping with the crisis.
Migrants who end up in the hold of the vessel usually pay less for the journey but the decision could turn out to be deadly, like the tragedy today. If the boat capsizes, they risk drowning, and that’s not all, they could also be killed by diesel fumes.
Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said this won’t be the last time we hear about migrants drowning if the international community does not find a solution soon. Many of the migrants, who come from Libya and other troubled countries nearby, are escaping poverty and the deadly conflicts.
Italy and Greece don’t know what to do anymore. Earlier today, hundreds of migrants arrived to Greece on inflatable boats but were quickly turned away from a ferry that was going to start registering all the arrivals. A Syrian refugee spoke to reporters and said he didn’t know what to do after Greek authorities stopped registering the new arrivals.
The people who did get to register were sent to Athens, where the country will determine what they’ll do with them. Just this week, close to 7,000 migrants arrived to the nation but the number has decreased, according to Greek police.
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) spoke about the crisis and said it is worried about the claims from some migrants, who say they were attacked at sea. The group has heard so many stories that they are convinced that something is going on. A refugee from Baghdad, said his boat was attacked by people carrying sticks and knives. Greece’s coastguard said earlier this month that they arrested three men who were dressed just like them and were targeting migrants.
Around 135,000 migrants have arrived to Greece since the start of the year. The number is a little less in Italy, where 102,000 migrants have made the journey.