Around 400 Migrants Feared Dead in Mediterranean after Boat Overturns
Around 400 migrants are feared dead after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Italian coast guard rescued 144 people from the boat on Monday and initiated an air and sea operation with the hope of finding other survivors.
More than 8000 migrants have been rescued since Friday and more boats are heading for the Italian shore as the migration season has began, the BBC reports.
The Italian Interior Ministry instructed officials throughout the country to house migrants, many of whom are children
According to the UN, more than 500 migrants have died since the beginning of the year, which is an increase of thirty times compared to the same period in 2014.
Survivors explained that the latest incident happened after a boat, which was carrying around 550 people, overturned a day after leaving the Libyan coast.
At present the rescuers have recovered nine bodies, but no more survivors have been found since then.
According to Save the Children, which bases its estimates on the accounts of survivors, many of the migrants were young men, probably minors
Last year, 170 000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Italy and as many as 3500 died.
Italy's search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum was discontinued in 2014, but since then the more limited EU border security operation has proven inadequate to substitute it.
More than 280 000 migrants entered the EU illegally last year, most of them fleeing conflict in Syria, repression in Eritrea and violence and civil war in Libya.
Since the deposition of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been without a stable government and unable to control, which has allowed human trafficking networks to flourish.
Recently, the humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres announced that it would launch a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean between May and October.
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