It is suspected that over 100 people, including children, have died in a tragic incident off the southern coast of Italy, where a boat sank. The confirmed death toll stands at 63, with 12 children, including a baby, among those who perished as reported by BBC News. The ship, carrying around 200 passengers, was en route from Turkey and onboard were people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has called on European Union institutions to act to prevent illegal migrant boat journeys. While recovery and relocation operations continued, survivors of the tragedy, some of whom had lost their loved ones, were receiving support from organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières. Traumatized survivors at a temporary reception centre in Isola di Capo Rizzuto included a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan who lost his sister and a man from Afghanistan whose wife and three children did not survive.
Francesco Creazzo from the non-governmental organization SOS Méditerranée commented on the tragedy, saying that the Mediterranean had become a massive grave with tens of thousands of lives lost. He highlighted the need for safer travel routes and rescue operations. Speaking at the UN’s Human Rights Council, Secretary-General António Guterres called for countries to help refugees and migrants.
Prime Minister Meloni, who had promised to reduce the influx of migrants into Italy during her election campaign, has written to the European Council and European Commission requesting immediate action to prevent further migrant boat departures and the resultant loss of life.