The UN Refugee Agency has said more than 700 migrants may have drowned in the Mediterranean during the last few days.
BREAKING: UN refugee agency: Over 700 migrants feared dead in 3 Mediterranean shipwrecks in south of Italy
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 29, 2016
Carlotta Sami, spokesperson for UN Refugee Agency said: “An estimated 100 people are missing from a smugglers boats that capsized on Wednesday as they tried to reach Europe.
Sunday counting victims. Macabre exercise:will the world realize the over 700 pp would have deserved a safe passage? pic.twitter.com/c8Puo3ktkF
— Carlotta Sami (@CarlottaSami) May 29, 2016
#opSophia the @Armada_esp frigate #ReinaSofia now rescuing these #migrants spotted by #SW3Merlin3 aircraft… pic.twitter.com/TZOngzwF7v
— EUNAVFOR MED OHQ (@EUNAVFORMED_OHQ) May 26, 2016
“Around 550 migrants are missing from a smuggling boat that capsized on Thursday morning after leaving the western Libyan port of Sabratha a day earlier.”
Refugees told Sami that the boat was carrying around 670 people, did not have an engine and was being towed by another smuggling boat before it capsized.
#UPDATE Up to 700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean this week: UNHCR https://t.co/8iHQaIbGlC pic.twitter.com/y6pCJe0RgI
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 29, 2016
“Twenty-five people survived, 79 others were rescued by patrol boats and 45 bodies were recovered from the sea, Sami said.
Giovanna Di Benedetto, Save the Children’s spokesperson in Sicily, said “The first boat, carrying some 500 people, was reportedly towing the second, which was carrying another 500. But the second boat began to sink. Some people tried to swim to the first boat, others held onto the rope linking the vessels.”
In a third shipwreck on Friday, Sami said 135 people were rescued, 45 bodies were recovered and an unknown number of people are missing.
#Mediterranean: over 1.500 dead in 2016 only. Smugglers boats are overcrowded and flimsy: hell for refugees&migrants pic.twitter.com/Hlt0l9iIIt
— Carlotta Sami (@CarlottaSami) May 28, 2016
Italy’s southern islands are the main destinations for countless numbers of smuggling boats leaving Libya’s ports each week.