Dienstag, 29. Oktober 2013

Hundreds of boat people saved

More than three weeks after the two momentous refugee dramas off Lampedusa with more than 400 dead, the flow of refugees to Europe still continues. The Italian Coast Guard and Navy rescued hundreds of boat people in the Mediterranean again. On Monday evening and in the early morning of Tuesday, nearly 400 migrants were brought to safety in several rescue operations off Italian shores, as authorities confirmed. The Greek Coast Guard also discovered a refugee boat.
41 boat people, mainly from Nigeria and Ghana, were discovered Monday evening off Lampedusa by the Coast Guard and brought to safety. They had come with their boat about 70 miles south of the Mediterranean island in distress. After the rescue, the people had been brought on board a naval vessel.

About 80 miles south of Lampedusa were 205 migrants were brought to safety on Monday evening, as authorities told on Tuesday. Off the coast of Calabria, rescue workers also discovered a boat with 133 people on board in the early morning of Tuesday. The refugees, mainly from Syria and Eritrea, were taken on board a vessel of the Coast Guard.

Aid refused

The Hellenic Coast Guard sighted a fishing boat with 120 refugees 110 nautical miles southwest of the Peloponnese peninsula. The refugees, however, refused any help according to the Coast Guard, presumably to move on to Italy.

Late Monday evening, the Coast Guard had rescued 15 illegal immigrants from the floods in the straits between Turkey and the Greek island of Kos. Their boat had capsized a few miles off the island. It has been stated that one migrant was still missing on Tuesday.

Already nearly three times as many refugees as 2012

According to the Italian Interior Ministry, more than 36,000 boat people arrived on the Italian coast earlier this year. In 2012 there were just over 13,000. In good weather, numerous migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, still take the risk to cross the Mediterranean.

In early October, a refugee boat capsized off Lampedusa where more than 360 people died. During a second shipwreck a few days later, more than 35 people were killed.

(Translated by Aylin Satmaz)