ITALY: A wooden boat that was carrying around 200 migrants smashed into a rocky reef near the southern Italian town of Crotone, killing nearly 60 people, including children. At least 12 people are still missing in the waters, and the suspected death toll could top 100. However, 80 people survived the shipwreck, as per the Italian Coast Guard.
The boat hit the rocks a few metres off the coast of Italy after it set out from Turkey. To identify four alleged smugglers, an ongoing investigation also included one man who was taken into custody for asking after fellow survivors.
Gaetano Lombardo, a lieutenant of the country’s financial police, said, “During the operations, an alleged smuggler was also identified, together with a Carabinieri patrol, An investigation is currently underway to ascertain responsibility for three other alleged smugglers. There is also a Turkish national on the run, and the search is ongoing.”
Red Cross volunteer, Ignazio Mangione said that all survivors are adults, but “unfortunately, all the children are among the missing or were found dead on the beach. A baby was reported among the dead.”
As reported by Doctors without Borders, among the youngest survivors were a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old from Afghanistan. The entire family of the 12-year-old was dead, including his four siblings.
This shipwreck follows days after the controversial new rules on migrant rescue adopted by the Italian Parliament, which require humanitarian ships to carry out only one rescue at a time, will increase the number of deaths in the Mediterranean, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous crossings for migrants.
The head of Italy’s far-right government, Giorgia Meloni, said in a statement that it was “criminal to put a 20-meter boat with 200 people on board and a bad weather forecast,” adding that “the government is determined to prevent departures and with them this kind of tragedy, and will continue to do so, demanding above all the greatest collaboration of the states of departure and origin.”
Arrivals from the Turkish route, according to UN figures, accounted for 15 percent of the total number, with half of the migrants coming from Afghanistan.
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