“At least forty migrants, including a newborn baby a few months old, died when their boat capsized at dawn not far from the Italian city of Crotone in Calabria (southern) Italian beaches,” police said Sunday.
“Currently, 80 people have been rescued alive, some of whom have reached the shore after drowning, and 43 bodies have been found on the beach,” said a Coast Guard report released at the end of the month.
“Dozens and dozens drowned and many are missing, including children. Calabria is in mourning for this terrible tragedy,” regional president Roberto Ochiuto said in a statement.
According to the Coast Guard, the boat was carrying about 120 people and broke up on rocks a few meters off the coast, with firefighters saying there were “more than 200 people” on board.
Italian police footage showed wooden debris strewn over a hundred meters of beach, where dozens of rescuers and survivors were waiting to be transferred to a reception centre.
Expressing her “deep pain”, government leader Georgia Meloni said in a press release that “a 20-metre boat with 200 people at sea and a bad weather forecast”.
“The government is committed to preventing departures, and with them tragedies like this, and continuing to do so requires tremendous cooperation above all from states of departure and origin,” Ms. Melony promised.
The new shipwreck comes days after parliament passed controversial new rules by the far-right-dominated government to rescue migrants.
The new law requires humanitarian ships to carry out only one rescue mission at a time, which critics say increases the risk of death for migrants in the central Mediterranean, considered the world’s most dangerous.
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