Hundreds of migrants dock in Sicily; a further 115 rescued off Libyan coast

Hundreds of migrants dock in Sicily; a further 115 rescued off Libyan coast
By Sarah Taylor with Reuters, AP
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Is there a correlation between a decrease in funding and an increase in migrant deaths in the Mediterranean? Italy calls on Europe for action.

A further 446 rescued migrants docked in Augusta, south-east Sicily, on Wednesday morning (April 22), Italian officials say.


The arrival comes amid reports 115 people have been rescued from a small, inflatable boat some 70 kilometres off the coast of Libya.

In 2015, 22,000 migrants have arrived in Italy. The figure for those who have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe stands at 1,600, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Italy is pushing Europe to do more. European leaders are to discuss how to tackle the crisis in an extraordinary summit on April 22.

Funding and resources have been cut drastically since November 2014, when the Europe-led Triton sea patrol operation began. It receives three million euros in funding per month. This equates to a third of the funds Italy put into its year-long Mare Nostrum rescue operation.

Questions have been asked about whether the decrease in resources has led to the sizeable increase in migrant deaths.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, deaths in the Mediterranean between the beginning of January and April 21, 2015, are 30 times higher than in the same period in 2014. It says that figure could rise to 30,000 by the end of the year.

Warm weather in April is thought to have encouraged larger-than-usual numbers of people to attempt the crossing. In the first three months of 2015, 480 migrants drowned in the same body of sea, compared to 50 in the same period the year before.

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