News   /   EU

Over 1,300 refugees picked up in Mediterranean in single day: Italy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Italian Coastguard says over 1300 refugees trying to pass through the Mediterranean have been rescued in 11 rescue operations, on June 11, 2016.

Italy says over 1300 stranded refugees have been rescued at sea in a single day of naval operations through the Mediterranean.

The Italian Coastguard said in a statement on Saturday that 1,348 asylum seekers of various African nationalities were rescued during 11 rescue operations in the stretch of sea between Sicily, Italy’s largest island to the south and North Africa.

The operations, which were coordinated by the Italian coastguard, involved the European Union naval mission Eunavfor Med, the Malta-based NGO Moas and a private tugboat.

The refugees, including men, women, children and even toddlers and babies, were all reportedly transferred to Sicily.

The picked-up people on Saturday brought the total number of rescued refugees to over 3,000 in the past three days. 

Illegal refugees sit on the dock at the Tripoli port after being rescued by coastguard boats off the coast of Libya on June 7, 2016. ©AFP

On Thursday, similar operations led to the rescue of 2,000 refugees traveling on 15 different boats in the Mediterranean.

Ever since the closure of the so-called Balkan route via Turkey and Greece in March, Italy has become the main entry point for the refugees heading for Europe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said in a new report that 48,761 people have so far stepped on Italian shores in 2016, and that the average daily arrivals has also increased from 176 in January to 643 in May.

The Italian Interior Ministry, however, says that the total figure of arrivals in the current year is about 10 percent less than the same period last year.

Separately, the United Nations also said on Tuesday that more than 10,000 refugees have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean waters into Europe since 2014.

The Italian navy ship “Vega” arrives with hundreds of refugees on May 29, 2016 in the port of Reggio Calabria, southern Italy. ©AFP

The world body added that the number has been rising rapidly in the past few months, meaning that a new record could be set by the number of refugees dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

Europe has been grappling with its biggest influx of refugees since World War II, as people flee conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East.

In a bid to reduce the flow, the European Union signed a deal in March with Turkey to deport refugees from Greece. However, the IOM said a total of 206,400 refugees had arrived in Europe since the start of the year, mainly landing in Greece and Italy.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku