NewsWorld
ITALY

Italy rescues more than 1,100 migrants in rafts south of Sicily

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 7:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 7:41pm
 

The Italian navy has rescued more than 1,100 migrants from nine large rafts in the waters south of Sicily, the latest arrivals from North Africa.

Patrol helicopters identified the overcrowded rafts on Wednesday and four navy vessels participated in the rescue which ended early on Thursday, a statement said. The navy gave no details about the nationalities of the migrants.

Italy is a major gateway into Europe for migrants, and sea arrivals more than tripled last year from the previous year, fuelled by Syria’s civil war and strife in the Horn of Africa.

In October, 366 Eritreans drowned in a shipwreck near the shore of the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is located about halfway between Sicily and Tunisia. More than 200, mostly Syrians, died in another shipwreck a week later.

Over the past two decades, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean island of Malta have borne the brunt of migrant flows and have urged the EU to make a more robust and coordinated response.

Share

 

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive