1,800 Migrants Rescued Off Italy

1,800 Migrants Rescued Off Italy1,800 Migrants Rescued Off Italy

More than 1,800 migrants have been picked up in the Mediterranean and 13 bodies recovered as the exodus from North Africa by boat endures, Italy’s coast guard said on Tuesday.

Vessels taking part in EU border security operation Triton rescued the migrants from their rickety boats in five separate operations on Monday, following the arrival in Sicily on Saturday of 1,300 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and Syria, France24 reported.

The 13 bodies were recovered by an Irish military ship after it came to the aid of one of the boats, which was carrying 522 people.

The cause of death was not yet known, the coast guard said, but migrants attempting the perilous crossing to Europe often suffer from dehydration and sun exposure.

Italy and Greece have been hard pressed to handle a massive increase in migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

More than 1,900 migrants have died this year making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, out of around 150,000 people who have made the crossing, the International Organization for Migration said earlier this month.

  Niger to Open Refugee Shelters

Several shelters are to open in Niger for illegal African immigrants to dissuade them from trying to reach Europe and instead offering local alternatives, the French interior minister said Friday.

The centers proposed by the European Union, in cooperation with Niger, “should be an opportunity to bring ambitious development policies for migrants and for states,” said Bernard Cazeneuve in Niger’s capital Niamey after meeting President Mahamadou Issoufou.

The European Commission on Wednesday revealed a plan of action for immigration and asylum, in particular the opening of a pilot center in Niger by the end of the year.

However, the nature of the program, the size and the key issue of funding has not been determined.

Cazeneuve said that while those in need of asylum must be protected, those classed as economic migrants should “stay in their country to develop projects.”