The rescue authorities of Italy recovered dead bodies of seven migrants, including women from a capsized boat off the coast of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on November 24. According to the country's coast guard, three bodies were found at the sea by a coast guard ship while two others were discovered ashore by the Italian financial guard. Their boat had overturned on November 23, following which nearly 149 migrants were rescued by the coast guard about 1.6 kilometres from Lampedusa while reportedly 13 people still remain missing. Originally, there were 169 immigrants aboard and reportedly a private citizen had alerted about a foundering boat.
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Italy is one of the main entry points to Europe
Italy is one of the main entry points to Europe for thousands of immigrants from the Middle East and North African countries. The migrants risk their lives by undertaking dangerous sea routes on overcrowded rubber boats to escape the turmoil in their respective countries. The coast guard also said that rough seas made the rescue operation more complicated but also owing to a large number of people who fell into the water simultaneously. According to Italian media, one Eritrean man and a Libyan man had lost their wives. The public prosecutor of the Sicilian port of Agrigento has also announced that an investigation has been opened into the incident.
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NGO urges govt to 'immediately' authorise
In a separate operation, a Spanish NGO, Open Arms, had reportedly rescued nearly 73 migrants and urged European governments to 'immediately' authorise the migrants' disembarkation in a safe port and cited a 'critical' situation. Riccardo Gatti, the Open Arms' chief of mission said that their demands continue and international law must be respected. The Ocean Viking also made similar demands as according to both NGOs, there is an urgent need for a coordinated response to deal with the 'humanitarian catastrophe' in the region. Earlier on November 24, the coastguard had evacuated 11 of the group who required immediate medical attention to the port of Augusta and Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese signalled the country might be softening its position. Among the group of mostly Central and West Africans, there were three women, two toddlers and 24 unaccompanied minors who were aboard the dangerous crossing in search of a shelter in Europe.
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