May 30, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

58 migrants, including children, died Sunday morning off the southern coast of Italy

In the early Sunday morning of February 26, a wooden boat carrying migrants crashed against the rocks on the southern coast of Italy. At least 58 people, including several children, were killed.

After a shipwreck, the bodies of 27 refugees were found on a beach on the east coast of the Italian region of Calabria. informs REUTERS, citing provincial government spokesman Manuela Currana. The tragedy occurred near the resort of Steccato di Cutro, Ansa reports. The Italian customs police reported the arrest of one of the survivors on charges of human trafficking.

The wooden boat crashed on the rocks due to adverse weather conditions. Cutro Mayor Antonio Cheraso said the boat literally “fell apart” and the wreckage was found 300 meters from shore. Children are among the dead, he said.

Manuela Currana noted that the boat left Turkish Izmir three or four days ago, and, according to witnesses, there could be 140-150 people on board. According to her, the survivors are mostly natives of Afghanistan, there are also immigrants from Pakistan and Somalia. Italian President Sergio Mattarella noted that “many of the migrants came from Afghanistan and Iran, fleeing difficult living conditions.”

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed “deep sorrow” over the tragedy in a communiqué, blaming the traffickers. She stressed that her government is “committed to preventing” the departure of migrants and will demand “maximum cooperation” from the countries where these people come from and from the countries from which they go by boat.

Far-right politician Georgia Meloni came to power in Italy last year using strong anti-immigrant rhetoric in her campaign, among other things. Recently, her government, which includes right-wing and far-right ministers, passed tough new laws restricting the activities of humanitarian organizations involved in rescuing migrants at sea.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said it was necessary to end maritime travel, which gives migrants “an illusory mirage of a better life” in Europe, enriches traffickers and causes similar tragedies.

Italy is one of the main landing countries for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. The “Central Mediterranean Route” is considered one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world. According to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, more than 20,000 people have died or gone missing in the central Mediterranean since 2014 while trying to reach Europe.

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