Small children on the boat have either died or disappeared. The boat set out from Turkey and carrying 200 people.
Around 80 people were found alive in a Calabrian coastal town (Italy) after a wooden boat broke off against the riffs amid rough waters.
Coast guard officers continue to look for survivors, as the bodies of 59 people were recovered dead, including several small children.
The boat had been organised by people traffickers from Turkey.
“All survivors are adults”, said a Red Cross volunteer, according to AFP. “Unfortunately, all the children are among the missing or were found dead on the beach”.
There are around 60 more people still missing.
Italian Red Cross is responding to the #shipwreck that happened this morning off the coast of Calabria, claiming the lives of dozens of migrants.
Teams are supporting survivors with first aid, blankets and psychosocial support, and also helping them contact their loved ones. pic.twitter.com/tBoXEnfcMx
— IFRC Europe (@IFRC_Europe) February 26, 2023
Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni said it was “criminal to put a 20-metre boat with 200 people on board and a bad weather forecast”. She added that her 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”.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also called for better agreed solutions between EU countries in receiving migrants and asylum seekers. “The resulting loss of life of innocent migrants is a tragedy”.
105,000 migrants arrived on Italian shores in 2022. According to Euronews, 15% of migrants or asylum seekers arriving by sea to Italy do so through the known as Turkish route. Nearly half of these flee Afghanistan.
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