Dozens Killed as Migrant Boat Sinks Near Italy
International/U.S. News Editor
A boat with dozens of migrants sank off the coast of southern Italy leaving over 60 dead as rescue efforts continue.
The boat had left from Turkey before running into rough waters and breaking apart on February 26 near the Italian city of Crotone in the country’s region of Calabria. The migrants on the boat were all from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, and Bangladesh. Officials have said that there could have been over 150 people on the boat, but an exact number is not clear. As many as 30 people are still believed to be missing and 80 have been found alive according to officials and the Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who also leads the country’s far-right Brothers of Italy party, has acknowledged what happened and is calling for action to be done in order to stop this from happening again. Her government had promised a policy of stopping more migrants from reaching Italy’s shores and has blamed this tragedy on human traffickers, with one survivor being arrested on trafficking charges. “The government is committed to preventing such departures, and with them the unfolding of these tragedies,” she said. Stating that to deal with this problem “seriously” and “with humanity,” stopping migrant boats coming across the Mediterranean Sea is the only option. Despite a stance of looking to close off illegal immigration routes, the government still advocates for more safe ways for migrants. Meloni has also reached out to the European Council and European Commission for more action to be done.
This tragedy is also part of a time where Europe has seen increases in the number of migrants despite leaders trying to reduce it. Countries such as Greece have started resorting to more aggressive tactics, with border authorities having been accused of pushing migrant boats back to sea. Both migrants and traffickers have now been using alternate routes due to this, which includes Italy’s southern coast. In rescue operations, Meloni’s government has been relying primarily on rescue boats operated by humanitarian groups and other nongovernmental organizations. While the country’s leaders stand by the policy of closing its borders more, they haven’t shown that they can act on it. Still the issue of migration to Europe continues, with more actions being suggested to make access to the continent easier and safer. European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen said that it is important to “redouble our efforts” to reform the EU’s rules for asylum seekers coming to Europe.
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