Eight migrant bodies were recovered by Italy’s coastguard, according to officials on Friday. This comes amid a heated debate regarding Rome’s crackdown on rescue charities operating in the Mediterranean, known as the world’s deadliest crossing for migrants.
According to the reports, five men and three women, one of whom was pregnant, were discovered dead by rescuers in a boat on Thursday night, says Filippo Mannino, the mayor of Lampedusa, a small island. The 42 survivors on board were brought ashore, he told AFP.
These fatalities occur prior to a European Council meeting next week, where Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, will advocate for increased support from the EU in handling boat migrants.
Italy’s location makes it a popular destination for asylum seekers traveling from North Africa to Europe. Rome has frequently expressed frustration with the high number of arrivals.
Mayor Mannino stated that in his six months in office, there has been a constant flow of migrants arriving and almost weekly, bodies of those who perished are being brought to the island.
“The situation is becoming extremely dire. Europe and the government must take action. I have lost track of the death toll,” said Mannino.
According to the interior ministry, there have been almost 5,000 migrant arrivals in Italy since the start of the year, a significant increase from the over 3,000 in the same period last year, and even more than the 1,000 in 2021.