Hundreds feared drowned in Mediterranean; Italy calls for help

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By Euronews  with GUARDIAN, REUTERS, BBC
Hundreds feared drowned in Mediterranean; Italy calls for help

<p>It is thought to be the worst ever tragedy involving the transportation of migrants to Europe.</p> <p>Hundreds are feared to have drowned after a fishing trawler smuggling migrants capsized in the Mediterranean.</p> <p>At least 24 people have been confirmed dead with more than 600 still missing. Initial reports suggest 28 have survived.</p> <p>The actual number of people on board is unclear, although eyewitness reports suggest it was anywhere between 700 and 950. </p> <p>Around 40 to 50 children and some 200 women are estimated to have been trapped behind closed doors on the vessel, unable to escape.</p> <p>The ship went down about 100 kilometres off the coast of Libya and around 200 kilometres south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. </p> <p>Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is leading calls to the European Union for greater action on the issue. He said:</p> <p>“Our priority, which is a Political priority with a capital ‘P’, is human dignity, as well as national security, to stop the trafficking of human beings. These new slave drivers cannot think that Europe considers this a second rate problem compared to other questions on our agendas.”</p> <p>At the request of Rome and Madrid, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, is planning a summit on illegal immigration. </p> <p>As the rescue effort continues in the Mediterranean, aid organisations are piling on the pressure for better search-and-rescue systems to be installed.</p> <p>They are also urging international and political action to tackle the overwhelming numbers of migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to reach the shores of Europe.</p>