Friday, 24 July 2015

At least 40 migrants drown and 90 are rescued when a rickety inflatable boat capsizes off Libyan coast

As many as 40 African migrants have reportedly drowned off the Libyan coast after their overcrowded inflatable boat capsized and sank.

Another 90 migrants managed to survive the perilous journey across the Mediterranean sea and were rescued by a German naval vessel, which took them to the Sicilian harbour of Augusta.

It is believed the sunken boat had as many as 140 migrants on board. One survivor recalled how the boat started taking in water and the weak rubber began to deteriorate as the boat sunk.

The staggering number of illegal migrants who have arrived this year has now reached 60,000, according to the UN.

The rapid increase in the flow of migrants comes after 170,000 migrants arrived into Europe in 2014.

All 40 of the victims, who drowned in the sea, are believed to have come from sub-Saharan countries including Senegal, Mali and Benin. Whilst it is unclear where the migrants were hoping to end up once they were in Europe, it is thought their boat was destined for the Italian coast when it sank on Wednesday.

A team from the Save the Children charity that interviewed some of the survivors said up to seven teenagers, aged about 15 or 16, were also believed to have died in the incident.

One survivor, known as Sami, said the boat they were travelling in started to disintegrate shortly after it put to sea from the Tripoli area. 'Unfortunately the rubber was of a very bad quality,' she said, speaking by telephone from Sicily, where the survivors had come ashore after being rescued by a German navy vessel.

Save the Children said the German ship brought 283 refugees and migrants to Port Augusta. Two other boats brought a further 669 immigrants to Sicily and southern Italy during the day.

Italy has become one of the main entry points in Europe for immigrants seeking a better life, with many - mostly from Africa and the Middle East - reaching the country so far this year via the Mediterranean.

Many of the migrants travel from as far as Darfur and Afghanistan, making long road journeys in the back of lorries to reach the departure points in Turkey and Libya.

The 90 migrant fatalities comes as the United Nations estimates that some 1,900 would-be migrants have died since January trying to make the crossing.

Often the boats used are in poor condition and not fit for a long journey across the tempestuous Mediterranean sea.

Friday 24 July 2015


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