Finance fishing boats

Nearly 700 migrants rescued off Italian coast, 5 found dead

A crew member of the German NGO Sea-Watch 3 migrant rescue vessel watches a sick migrant being medically evacuated from the vessel, while waiting for the last group of migrants to disembark the vessel in Trapani on the island of Sicily, Italy August 8, 2021. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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ROME, July 24 (Reuters) – Nearly 700 migrants, including five bodies, were rescued off the southern coast of Italy on Saturday, the coast guard said on Sunday, as the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean increases in favorable sea conditions.

Most of the 674 migrants were found on a fishing boat 200 km off Calabria, Italy’s boot. Others were rescued from the water.

Search and rescue operations were carried out by a merchant vessel and the Italian Coast Guard and Financial Police.

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The migrants were transferred to port cities in Sicily and Calabria on Sunday morning, the statement added. The five corpses were taken to the morgue of the hospital in the Sicilian city of Messina.

More than 34,000 asylum seekers and migrants have landed in Italy since the start of the year, compared to some 25,500 at the same time last year, according to data from the Italian Interior Ministry.

Mediterranean countries on key migration routes to Europe expect more than 150,000 arrivals this year as food shortages caused by conflict in Ukraine threaten a new wave of migration from Africa and the Middle East. East. Read more

On Sunday morning, the Norwegian-flagged vessel Ocean Viking spotted an overcrowded dinghy in international waters off the coast of Libya and rescued 87 people, including 57 unaccompanied minors, it said on Twitter.

Separately, on Saturday, the German search and rescue vessel of the NGO Sea-Watch rescued more than 400 migrants, including several young children and two pregnant women, traveling on four overcrowded boats. According to Sea-Watch, the flat sea and the lack of wind favored the arrival of migrants on the Italian coasts.

In Lampedusa, more than 400 migrants have landed since last night, after another 350 people on Saturday, defying the island’s migrant reception center, which hosts more than 1,000 people.

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Reporting by Giulia Segreti Editing by David Goodman, Alexandra Hudson

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