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800 people rescued off Lampedusa

800 people rescued off Lampedusa
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The Italian authorities say they have rescued around 800 migrants from unseaworthy vessels in four separate incidents off the coast of Lampedusa.

The Italian Navy and the Coast Guard have been mounting more intensive and more regular patrols of the Mediterranean Sea after 366 migrants drowned when their vessel sank off the coast earlier this month.

The crossing from North Africa to Lampedusa is one of the shortest sea routes for people attempting to reach Europe in order to escape worsening humanitarian crises in Syria and the Horn of Africa.

Amongst those rescued were around 60 children and 16 pregnant woman, say the Authorities.

The Mayor of Lampedusa is currently at the EU Summit in Brussels, pressing her demand that migrants should be able to ask for asylum at EU embassies in their country of origin, rather than having to make a perilous sea voyage in order to do so.

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