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Migrants in the Med: 'Over 8,000' rescued in five days

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By Luke Barber
Migrants in the Med: 'Over 8,000' rescued in five days

As many as 8,300 migrants have been plucked from the Mediterranean in the last five days, according to Italian authorities.

The Italian coastguard said that they had rescued 1,800 migrants on Monday alone, most from less than seaworthy crafts, with two intercepted vessels amounting to little more than fishing boats.

The death toll rises once again

The new figures come as the bodies of 120 migrants have washed up on the shores of Northern Libya in less than two weeks, taking the total of known migrant and refugee deaths to 4,027 in 2016 alone, around three quarters of which perished trying to reach Europe.

The deaths, revealed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), were apparently not from previously known shipwrecks, according to IOM spokesman Joel Millman.

“This is something that we have brought up as an area of concern that we were not quite sure about those reports, and now we have more clarity and we are saying 120 died in the last 10 days or so along the Libyan shore,” he said.

A difficult task

The efforts of the Italian authorities to pluck migrants from the Mediterranean have been negated by the sheer number of people trying to enter Europe.

Issues surrounding the presence of Italian border security forces in Libyan waters are seriously hindering the ability of the coastguard to stem the flow of migrants into Europe

EU rules require Italian authorities to maintain the security of European border and prevent people from entering Europe illegally.