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Aid group: 400 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes

Survivors of a capsized
migrant boat off Libya have told the aid group Save the Children that an
estimated 400 people are believed to have drowned.

The coastguard
had helped rescue some 144 people on Monday and immediately launched an
air and sea search operation in hopes of finding others. The coastguard
said it assumed that there were many dead given the size of the ship
and that nine bodies had been found.

On Tuesday, Save the Children
said its interviews with survivors who arrived in Reggio Calabria
indicated there may have been 400 others who drowned.

The deaths,
if confirmed, would add to the skyrocketing numbers of migrants lost at
sea: The International Organization for Migration estimates that up to
3,072 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean in 2014,
compared to an estimate of 700 in 2013.

The UN refugee agency, the
UNHCR, said the estimated death toll from the boat capsized off Libya
was likely given the size of the ship.

It said that Italy’s coastguard had saved about 8,500 migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean since Friday.

“Those
rescued since last Friday included an estimated 3,000 people in four
boats and 16 dinghies rescued on Monday,” the agency said in a
statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, the European Union’s top migration
official said the EU must quickly adapt to the growing numbers of
migrants trying to reach its shores.

“The unprecedented influx of
migrants at our borders, and in particular refugees, is unfortunately
the new norm and we will need to adjust our responses accordingly,” the
EU’s commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told lawmakers
in Brussels.

More than 280,000 people entered the European Union
illegally last year. Many came from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia and made
the perilous sea journey from conflict-torn Libya.

European coast
guards have been overwhelmed by the numbers. As the weather has begun to
warm, even more people have been fleeing conflict and poverty for
better lives in Europe.

Credit: Al Jazeera

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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