Italian authorities say that they have rescued up to 800 more migrants from the seas around the coast of Lampedusa in the last 24 hours including scores of children and pregnant women.
Meanwhile the subject has been discussed at the EU Summit in Brussels, and it has been decided to hold a meeting in early December in order to discuss how best to improve search and rescue in order to save more lives, how to help front line states like Malta and Italy cope with the influx, how to work with countries of origin and transit and how to combat organised crime and human trafficking.
José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, announced: “Member States have asked the European Commission to lead a task force on the issue. We will present a report to the Council in December. We will also discuss this matter again at the European Council, and today I call for a strong response from the European Union.”
It is estimated that around 32,000 migrants fleeing humanitarian crises in Syria and the Horn of Africa have landed in Lampedusa so far this year alone. And hundreds more have drowned in accidents involving unseaworthy, overloaded vessels which have made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe from North Africa.