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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

UN - About 300 of migrants killed in new Mediterranean tragedy.

More than 300 migrants were said to have died making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in recent days, sparking calls for European authorities to plough more resources into search and rescue operations – or for the return of an Italian-run programme ended last year – to halt the mass loss of lives.
After news that 29 migrants froze to death on Sunday night between North Africa and Sicily, the International Maritime Organisation said today that three other inflatable boats carrying around 100 people each had sunk and the total death toll was “at least 330”.
Reports suggest that one of the boats capsized, another then partially tipped over as other refugees panicked.
News of the tragedy – one of the worst single incidents in the ongoing migrant crisis – drew lacerating criticism from human rights groups, which demanded the immediate re-instatement of the Italian navy’s Mare Nostrum mission, ended last year and replaced by a programme run by the EU boarder protection agency, Frontex.
“The EU and its member states must hang their heads in shame,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe Programme Director at Amnesty International. “This new tragedy realises our worst fears about the end of Italy’s Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation and exposes the predictable consequences of the European Union’s failure to provide an adequate replacement.”
The Italian Coast Guard said the dinghies, which set off from Libya, were drifting in extreme sea conditions with waves as high as eight metres and temperatures barely above zero. Those who died were believed to be between 18 and 25 years old and from sub-Saharan Africa.Culled

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