Nearly 800 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

Italian and Libyan authorities say at least 796 people rescued from boats in distress while attempting perilous journey.

    At least 215,000 asylum-seekers arrived in European shores so far this year [EPA]
    At least 215,000 asylum-seekers arrived in European shores so far this year [EPA]

    Nearly 800 people have been rescued from boats in distress in the Mediterranean Sea in the last 48 hours, Italian and Libyan officials said.

    The Italian coastguard said on Saturday that it rescued at least 520 people from five boats in Libyan waters late on Thursday, in response to distress signals from the boats headed towards Sicily.

    An additional 171 people were also rescued during the overnight mission in the waters north of Tripoli.

    The Italian navy's response comes a day after Libya's navy announced it rescued 105 migrants from a boat that broke down off the coast of Garabulli, 50km east of the capital.

    This brings the total number of reported rescues over the weekend to 796 people. There were no details on their nationalities.

    Greek port authorities also said that they rescued 16 people when a boat carrying mostly Syrian refugees capsized off Mytilene.

    In 2013, almost 8,000 people arrived on European shores in the first six months, and 35,000 in the second half of the year. This year, at least 65,000 people took the risk in the first half of the year, and more than 150,000 people have landed since.

    The migrants making the perilious journey usually hail from poor or conflict-ridden countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.