Italy migrant boat shipwreck: More than 100 people feared dead

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There are fears more than 100 people, including children, have died after their boat sank off southern Italy.

At least 63 migrants are confirmed to have died, with 12 children including a baby said to be among the victims.

The vessel, thought to have carried some 200 people, broke apart while trying to land near Crotone on Sunday.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has urged EU institutions to take action to stop clandestine migrant boat journeys.

On board the boat, which had set out from Turkey a few days earlier, were said to be people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

According to the Pakistani foreign ministry 16 of its citizens had survived the disaster, with four more missing.

The coastguard said 80 people had been found alive, “including some who managed to reach the shore after the sinking”, meaning many more remained unaccounted for.

One survivor was arrested on migrant trafficking charges, customs police said.

As bodies were recovered from the beach and assistance and relocation operations continued, a group of survivors of the deadly shipwreck struggled to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.

At a temporary reception centre in the town of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, some of them were crying without speaking, some were just staring into the void, wrapped in blankets.

“They are heavily traumatised,” said Sergio Di Dato, from charity Médecins Sans Frontières. “Some children have lost their whole family. We are offering them all the support we can.”

A 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan lost his 28-year-old sister, who died on the beach next to him. He could not find the strength to tell his parents.

A 43-year-old man from Afghanistan survived with his 14-year-old son, but his wife and his three other children, who were 13, nine, and five, did not make it. Another Afghan woman in tears would not move from the beach after losing her husband.

“This is yet another tragedy happening near our shores. It reminds us all that the Mediterranean is a giant mass grave, with tens of thousands of souls in it, and it continues to widen,” said Francesco Creazzo, from SOS Méditerranée, an non-governmental organisation engaged in rescue operations in the central Mediterranean.

“There is no end in sight; in 2013, people said ‘never again’ to the little white coffins of Lampedusa, in 2015, they said ‘never again’ in front of the lifeless body of a two-year-old Syrian child on a beach.

“Now the words ‘never again’ are not even pronounced any more. We only hear ‘no more departures’, but unfortunately people keep venturing on this journey and they keep dying,” he added.

Source : BBC 

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