BY Mark Babatunde, 7:30am September 07, 2016,

In Single Day, Thousands of Migrants Rescued While Others Perish in Mediterranean

Aid workers help a migrant to safety after he was rescued from a sinking vessel on the Mediterranean. The Sun

On Monday, Italian authorities say more than 2,700 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean.

Italy’s Coast Guard and Navy say they recovered a total of 15 bodies in 23 separate operations involving migrant vessels. The operation also rescued thousands from 19 rubber boats and four smaller vessels off the coast of Libya.

The Malta-based humanitarian group MOAS, the Italian navy, as well as coastguard ships all participated in the rescues. Earlier on Monday, the Italian authorities said they had recovered six additional bodies, after it was reported that migrants fell out of a leaking rubber boat.

Sky News reports that in one operation, panicked migrants who were choked by fumes began throwing themselves in to the water in a desperate bid to reach a vessel operated by MOAS.

Some members of the crew also jumped in to the sea in an effort to save themselves, with one crewman needing rescuing after he reportedly swallowed fuel and collapsed.

The Italian Coastguards say an estimated 13,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean in to Italy from the coast of Libya over the course of the last four days.

Clement weather conditions and the almost non-existent presence of immigration authorities in Libya have led to an upsurge in the activities of people smugglers and desperate migrants willing to make the crossing aboard overcrowded vessels.

Official figures put the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived in Italy from the Mediterranean at about 93,000 by the end of August.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says slightly fewer migrants arrived on Italian shores in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, but the numbers of deaths on the route has increased.

More than 67,000 seaborne migrants arrived in Italy between Jan. 1 and July 3, according to the IOM. A UN refugee agency spokesman said the death toll on the route from North Africa to Italy has jumped to one migrant for every 42 making the crossing, compared to one in every 52 last year.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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