Forty-one people drowned on Thursday while attempting to reach Italy by boat from Libya according to the International Organisation for Migration. Only four people survived from the vessel.
The Italian Coast Guard say they have picked up thousands of migrants in recent days, including many children.
IOM's Joel Millman— IOM (@IOM_news) 16 Avril 2015
MillmanIOM</a> told <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCNews">BBCNews: At least a third of rescued #migrants on Monday were women & children http://t.co/lD58McH5gg
Save the Children say almost 10 percent of the 5,100 migrants who arrived in Italy between April 9-11, were underage, and 300 of them were unaccompanied by adults.
All of them are thought to be sub-Saharan.
Italy is struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people trying to reach its shores from north Africa, and is calling on the EU for more help.
The authorities say structures to deal with the migrants are collapsing, but no matter how desperate the facilities are, many are simply glad they survived the trip.
“We were thinking we were going to die at any minute,” said Syrian refugee Mohammed who made the trip with his brothers. “Every time the boat shook we thought it was going to capsize. We had children on board, we were very scared and didn’t dare move.”
As the summer approaches the numbers have reached record levels. In five days since Friday (April 10) Italian boats saved nearly 10,000 people at sea, and hundreds more are believed to have drowned.
In another worrying development for the authorities Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants who are alleged to have thrown 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy.
The victims, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead.