Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Kurdish forces fight to protect Yazidis

Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

Europe

Scores missing after migrant boat capsizes

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-04-06

Scores of people have gone missing in the Mediterranean after a boat laden with some 200 African migrants capsized overnight off the Italian island of Lampedusa en route from Libya.

More than 130 people were missing Wednesday after a boat carrying African migrants from Libya capsized in heavy seas near the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italian coastguard officials said they had saved 47 people, but strong winds and rough waters were hampering efforts to find more survivors. 

“Many are suffering from hypothermia,” said Simona Moscarelli of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), who was at the port in Lampedusa as the coastguard vessels arrived carrying the survivors.

Most of the people on board appeared to be Eritrean and Somali refugees who boarded the 13-metre-long (42-foot) vessel two days ago from the western Libyan port of Zuwarah, according to Italian coastguard officials.

The recent upheaval in North Africa has seen tens of thousands of people attempt the perilous crossing to Europe, disrupting the coastguard patrols that European nations have subsidised in a bid to keep migrants at bay.

Since February, more than 20,000 migrants – almost all men in their 20s and 30s – have crossed the narrow stretch of sea that separates Africa from Lampedusa, a tiny speck of land located about 200 kms north of Tunisia and some 400 kms south of Sicily.

Rickety boats hailing from the Tunisian ports of Djerba and Zarzis have so far accounted for the bulk of the influx. But the arrival last week of the first vessels from Libya appeared to confirm Italian fears of a broader exodus from the former Italian colony.

“Some 2,000 people have arrived from Libya since Saturday, but none of them Libyan,” an IOM spokesman, Flavio Di Giacomo, told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday. Most are from Somalia, Eritrea and Ghana – the vanguard of the estimated 1.5 million migrants bottled up in Libya since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi signed a controversial agreement with Italy in 2008, promising to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean in return for international recognition, cash and lucrative oil contracts.

In recent weeks, airplanes and ferries have rushed between Lampedusa and mainland Italy loaded with migrants who have, at times, outnumbered the tiny island’s 5,000-strong population.

Most migrants plan to head toward northern Europe, where many claim to have family. But their fate remains unclear. Cono Callipò, who heads the migrant reception centre in Lampedusa, says they will be screened to determine whether they qualify as asylum seekers or as economic migrants. “If they are simply looking for work they will eventually be sent back home,” he said.

 

Date created : 2011-04-06

  • Tunisia

    Italy to cooperate with Tunisia on Lampedusa crisis

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Lampedusa, a reluctant outpost in the storm

    Read more

COMMENT(S)