Italy says 6,000 migrants saved, 2 drowned since July 28

Italy says 6,000 migrants saved, 2 drowned since July 28

ROME-Agence France-Presse
Italy says 6,000 migrants saved, 2 drowned since July 28

Migrants disembark from Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Topaz Responder in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta, Italy June 30, 2016. REUTERS photo

The Italian navy on July 31 said it had recovered the bodies of two people in an operation that, along aid agencies, had helped pick up 6,000 people since July 28.

Navy ships patrolling off Libya intervened to help four rubber dinghies and an overcrowded fishing boat, it said.

In one operation by the vessel Vega, “five migrants were picked up out of the sea, three people were resuscitated and two were already dead,” it said on its Twitter account.

According to the latest figures from the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), issued on July 28 before the latest migratory wave, 89,217 people, most from sub-Saharan Africa have arrived in Italy by sea since the start of the year.

The tally is comparable to the total of 93,000 recorded for the January-July period last year.

More than 3,000 migrants have died trying to make the crossing, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2015, according to the International Office of Migration (IOM).

On July 28, Italy launched a campaign on the Internet, TV, radio and social media to warn African migrants of the many dangers they face in trying to reach Europe.

Dubbed “Aware Migrants,” the 1.5-million-euro ($1.66-million) campaign is targeting 15 countries in West and North Africa which have been big sources of the migratory wave.

It features migrants recounting their suffering at the hands of ruthless smugglers or enduring the perilous Mediterranean crossing.