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300 Feared Drowned in Mediterranean Crossing

300 Feared Drowned in Mediterranean Crossing300 Feared Drowned in Mediterranean Crossing

At least 300 people are feared dead after they tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy in four rubber dinghies, the United Nations Refugee Agency said.

The missing, who were among migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, left Libya on Saturday and had been at sea “for days” without food or water, the agency said on its website Wednesday. More than 110 survivors have landed in Lampedusa, Italy, after being rescued by coastguards and a merchant vessel, it said, Bloomberg reported.

“This is a tragedy on an enormous scale and a stark reminder that more lives could be lost if those seeking safety are left at the mercy of the sea,” it said.

Nine survivors who were brought to Lampedusa by the Italian coast guard are believed to be from West Africa.

At least 218,000 people, including migrants and refugees, crossed the Mediterranean in 2014 and the trend is expected to continue this year, the UN said.

In November, Italy ended a year-long operation aimed at rescuing seaborne migrants.

Known as Mare Nostrum, it was launched in October 2013 in response to a tragedy off Lampedusa in which 366 people died. The aim of the mission was to look for ships carrying migrants that may have run into trouble off the Libyan coast.

 

Financialtribune.com