Migrants: more than 400 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean and the Aegean since Wednesday



Already three rescue operations in two days. The German NGO Sea-Watch announced on Saturday December 25 that it had rescued more than 270 migrants in the central Mediterranean. His ship, the “Sea Watch 3”, which has been sailing off the Libyan coast since November 2017 and actively searching there for boats in distress, assisted two inflatable boats overnight and early in the morning of Christmas Saturday, announced the NGO on its Twitter account. There were around 100 and 80 people aboard the two overcrowded rubber dinghies that were rescued about 38 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, a spokesperson said.

The Sea Watch crew are now caring for around 270 migrants in total, after an initial rescue on Friday morning of 93 migrants who were in international waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. But while attempts to cross in ever more dangerous conditions multiply, the authorities and NGOs providing aid in the Mediterranean have recorded 406 people rescued since Wednesday, off the coast of Libya, Tunisia and Greece, as well as dozens. dead and missing.

Also in the Mediterranean, forty-eight migrants trying to reach Europe illegally from Libya aboard a makeshift boat were rescued on Saturday off the south-eastern coast of Tunisia, this time by the Red Crescent Tunisian. After their boat broke down, these migrants, including 15 Malians, 15 Syrians and 4 Egyptians, were intercepted and rescued by the Tunisian coast guard off Zarzis, said an NGO official for southern Tunisia. . They were taken to the port of El-Ketef in the area of ​​Ben Guerdane (south) before being transferred to three homes of the International Organization of Migrants (IOM) in Tataouine, Medenine and Zarzis, he said. added.

On Thursday, a Tunisian maritime military unit rescued 28 migrants aged between 14 and 33 years off Zarzis.

Finally, further east, in the Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard was on the search Saturday for survivors after the sinking of a new boat loaded with migrants, which brought the toll of these repeated accidents this week to au minus 30 dead. Late Friday, the coast guard recovered the bodies of 16 migrants – 12 men, three women and a baby – and rescued 63 others who were on board a wrecked boat near the island of Paros. According to survivors, some 80 migrants were on the boat.

This latest tragedy, the third since Wednesday, brings to at least thirty the number of migrants who perished this week while trying to reach Europe by this route, the increase in these incidents worrying the Greek authorities. “These days, the criminal activity of smugglers, who are indifferent to human life, has intensified, crowding dozens of people in distress, without life jackets, on boats that do not even meet the standards of basic security, “Giannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs, said late Friday. He also accused neighboring Turkey, “which leaves the smugglers to act with impunity”.



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