'Bangladeshis among 20 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean'
Published : 16 May 2017, 12:46
A total of around 20 migrants are feared to have died trying to cross the Mediterranean on Saturday, the United Nations refugee agency said, citing testimony from survivors arriving in Italy.
Seven men were found dead during Saturday's rescues, but survivors brought to Trapani in Sicily indicated a further 13 had been lost at sea, UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.
Among the people reported missing are a child, several Nigerian women, men from the Ivory Coast and possibly other men from Bangladesh, Sami said.
"When they saw the rescuers coming there was probably some agitation," Sami told Reuters. "Some of the people on board may have already been unwell, (the survivors) told us people were squashed, suffocated and then many ended up in the water."
Saturday's incident on the shortest route to Europe from Africa was the latest in a grim series which the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) calculates has killed more than 1,200 people so far this year.
More than 45,000 have successfully made the crossing, a more than 40 per cent increase on the same period of 2016.
Most are packed into unseaworthy boats by gangs who have taken advantage of factional fighting and a breakdown in government in Libya to set up lucrative trafficking businesses.
Libya's U.N.-backed government is asking for help to secure its chaotic south, and both Germany and Italy have called for greater European Union commitment to stabilise the region.
Sami said the UNHCR was looking into whether there had been another incident on Saturday, after Italy's coast guard told the agency it had received a satellite call from a boat near Sabratha, in western Libya, but then lost contact with it.
- Most viewed
- Live longer: 8 tips to slow down ageing with antioxidant-rich food
- Katrina Kaif's sister Isabelle Kaif is all set for Bollywood
- Alia Bhatt steals shoes at her friend's wedding function
- Woman commits suicide after killing daughter
- Ivy released from hospital
- 23 January Deaths
- 23 January Births
- 23 January Events
- PM releases stamp, first day cover on Int'l Customs Day
- Committee formed to implement 9th wage board for journos: Tarana
- Strong Coast Guard important for world maritime security: US
- PM urges developed countries to stand beside Bangladesh
- Indian girl dies after gang rapists rupture her lungs
- Priyanka Chopra lets go of her diet on her vacation!
- Katy Perry in 'tough conversations' with her record label
- UN rapporteur determined to follow up thwarted mission
- British MPs approve landmark Brexit bill
- Militants kill mother-daughter polio workers in Pakistan