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Italy's coastguard rescues 600 migrants in 24hrs

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Italy's coastguard rescues 600 migrants in 24hrs


Set adrift for two days in the Mediterranean 98 migrants have been picked up by the Italian coastguard overnight on Tuesday.

Italy has rescued at least 600 migrants in the past 24 hours and is pressing the EU for help to deal with the rising numbers of people making the perilous crossing to Europe.

Many start their journey in Libya, the country has been gripped by violence since the late leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted four years ago, and has become a major hub for people traffickers.

For those who are taken to safety they face an uncertain future as their asylum applications are dealt with, and Italy is struggling under the pressure to house the new arrivals.

Switzerland said it would join a proposed EU system to distribute refugees equally between European countries.

The EU’s foreign policy chief will brief the UN Security Council next week as they meet to discuss ways to deal with the crisis.

More than 1,750 migrants have died in the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year, a 30-fold increase on 2014 according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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