Home Breaking News Sicily declares state of emergency amid Lampedusa migrant crisis

Sicily declares state of emergency amid Lampedusa migrant crisis

A state of emergency has been declared in Sicily because of the large numbers of African migrants it has to deal with.

According to the Italian navy, almost 300 migrants have been rescued from two boats near the island of Lampedusa in the waters between Libya and Sicily.

The first, about 60 miles to the south of Lampedusa, was carrying 80 migrants, a navy statement said.

The second, said to be at danger of sinking was carrying 210 people.

It was 45 miles from the island.

A state of emergency has been declared in Sicily because of the large numbers of African migrants it has to deal with

A state of emergency has been declared in Sicily because of the large numbers of African migrants it has to deal with

The latest rescues come a day after Italy announced increased patrols following the deaths of hundreds of migrants sailing in overcrowded boats.

The migrants were all being transferred to Lampedusa, the navy said.

On Friday, at least 33 people died when their boat capsized between Malta and Lampedusa.

A week earlier, more than 350 migrants died in another shipwreck off the island, one of the deadliest such incidents in recent years.

Italy has previously called for EU help in dealing with the thousands of desperate migrants who wash up on its beaches every year.

Many are families fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East who hope for a better life in Europe.

The recent loss of life has led to further calls for EU action.

On Monday, Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro said the country intended to triple its presence in the southern Mediterranean.

“We need strong action to stop these shipwrecks,” he told Italian newspaper Avvenire.

In addition to coastguard and border police vessels, the Italian navy currently has three ships supported by four helicopters patrolling the area. It can also call on two surveillance aircraft with night-vision capabilities.

According to the UN, some 32,000 migrants have arrived in Malta and Italy this year.

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