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Migrants, boat capsizes in the Mediterranean: 400 people have reportedly drowned

Yet another boat tragedy has occurred off the coasts of Egypt. Migrants were trying to reach Italy. Over 100 people have been rescued by an NGO.

Yet another boat tragedy occurred in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Egypt. Four boats carrying migrants capsized during their attempt of reaching Italy’s coasts. The first European news agency to spread the news was the Daily Mail, UK newspaper who quoted BBC Arabic.

 


According to news agency ANSA, most of the migrants were fleeing Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. 400 people are missing, reportedly drowned. If the news is confirmed, this will represent one of the worst tragedies of migrations in the Med.

108 people rescued by an NGO

A coordinated operation of the Coast Guard allowed rescuing 108 people, thanks to the intervention of the Aquarius boat, owned by SOS Mediterranée, NGO which monitors that stretch of coast in order to provide support to boats facing hardships.

 

salvataggio sos mediterranee migranti
Rescue operation by the NGO Sos Mediterranée last March ©Patrick Bar/Sos Mediterranée

 

Italian Interior Minister Paolo Gentiloni hasn’t officially confirmed figures yet, but he said that “this is just another tragedy, right one year after the one occurred in Libyan waters”. He refers to the tragedy of a fishing boat that capsized on 18 April 2015 while a merchant ship was trying to rescue it. On that occasion, 700 to 900 migrants drowned: only 28 survived.

“There’s no need to build walls”

Over the past few weeks, the European Union reached an agreement with Turkey for returning migrants approaching member states’ coasts. However, this has not been discouraging those who desperately decide to risk their own life to find a new one, far from wars, famine, prosecutions and poverty.

 

Migranti Brennero
Migrants at the border with Brenner ©Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

 

This tragedy, adds Gentiloni, represents “one reason more to tell Europe that there’s no point in building walls, what we need is multiplying efforts”. Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, who is not satisfied with the agreement with Ankara, announced an opposite policy: the construction of a barrier on the border with Brenner.

 

Cover photo: SOS Mediterranée’s Aquarius boat, which rescued 108 migrants ©Patrick Bar/Sos Mediterranée

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