Freitag, 25. Oktober 2013

Off Sicily: Hundreds of boat people rescued

FAZ - Under tighter controls of the Italian Coast Guard, more than 700 refugees between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia have been taken up. The refugees were on their way to Italy with four cutters.

The Italian Navy has once again saved hundreds of boat people in the Mediterranean. More than 700 people, including dozens of women and children, have been taken up in five operations in the waters between Sicily and North Africa in the early hours of Friday, authorities said.

The refugees were on their way to Italy in four cutters. According to the Italian broadcast, one person is being missed after the rescue of 90 passengers of one cutter by a Maltese freighter. The refugees are reported to be mostly from Syria. Around 200 people were brought immediately to the Lampedusa detention centre, including 53 children and 39 women. With the new arrivals, the number of inmates in the camp rose to around 700 for a camp which is intended for 250 people.

Letta asks for support

The European refugee policy is currently subject at the EU summit in Brussels. Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta calls for greater support for the Euro-Mediterranean region and a revision of the European asylum policy of the partner countries. Under current law, most asylum seekers who do not arrive legally must remain in the EU country to which they have come into the European Union.

Countries like Italy and Greece which have been hit hard by the recession and the European crisis are even more affected. This year, according to UN figures, more than 32,000 people from Africa and the Middle East risk the dangerous journey to southern Italy in often overcrowded boats. Two weeks ago two ships sank in quick succession where approximately more than 500 people drowned. Italy subsequently increased its maritime surveillance in the region.

(Translated by Aylin Satmaz)