domenica 14 settembre 2014

Hundreds of migrants, including pregnant women, reach Sicily

Some left off shore by fast boat, swim to safety

(ANSA) - Palermo, September 12 - Hundreds of migrants landed in southern Italy Friday, some on their own but as many as 442 people, including women and children, were arriving on a rescue ship that plucked them from the Strait of Sicily. Authorities said 110 migrants swam and waded onto the beach of Sampieri, near the city of Scicli, early Friday morning after they were left about 100 metres from the shore by a fast boat likely operated by migrant traffickers.

Meanwhile, a Navy ship arrived at the port of Taranto with 1,722 migrants including 274 women - 19 of them pregnant - and 256 children, rescued from the seas as they tried to reach safety. Their countries of origin include Syria, Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Some will remain at reception centres on Sicily but many will be sent to Puglia and other regions of Italy, authorities said.

Another 442 migrants from Libya and the Middle East who had been rescued by another Navy vessel were expected to arrive in Palermo later Friday. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people fleeing war in Africa and the Middle East have been attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe with Italy usually their first stop. Many have been rescued under Italy's Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) search-and-rescue programme, established almost one year ago after the deaths of 400 migrants in two sea disasters. 

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