ROME, Italy (Caasimada Online) – Several dozen migrants are feared dead in the central Mediterranean after the boat they were traveling on capsized in rough weather on Sunday.
According to two credible rescue charities, the vessel was en route to Italy from Libya when it capsized approximately 110 miles northwest of Benghazi.
Both Mediterranean Saving Humans and Alarm Phone, charities specializing in migrant rescue, reported the incident on social media.
“We are in shock. According to different sources, dozens of people from this boat in distress have drowned,” said Alarm Phone on Twitter.
The fate of the boat and its passengers has not been officially confirmed, and Italian authorities have not commented on the incident.
Rescue mission continues
However, the Italian Coast Guard did request assistance from nearby merchant vessels. Despite this, they failed to carry out a rescue operation upon arrival.
Mediterranean’s head of mission, Luca Casarini, revealed that four merchant vessels are still in the area.
This tragic event highlights Italy’s limited capabilities to rescue migrants at sea, a recurring issue that has come under increased scrutiny recently.
On February 26, a shipwreck off the southern region of Calabria killed at least 79 people.
In response, the Italian government vowed to increase search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean.
Despite this, more than 1,300 migrants were rescued in three separate operations off the southern tip of Italy on Saturday, with another 200 saved off the coast of Sicily, according to the coastguard.
Mediterranean migration crisis
The Mediterranean migration crisis began in 2011 when a wave of unrest in North Africa and the Middle East led to the displacement of millions of people.
Many of these refugees and migrants saw Europe as a haven. They began the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean in overcrowded and unsafe boats.
According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 20,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean since 2014.
The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many countries, including Italy, have tightened their borders and implemented policies restricting asylum access.
Despite these challenges, charities and organizations like Mediterranean and Alarm Phone provide vital support to those in need.
Their efforts are a reminder of the importance of maintaining a strong commitment to humanitarianism and the protection of vulnerable populations.