Italy’s coastguard rescued 22 people from a boat that sank off the coast of Lampedusa. But officials said, unfortunately, nine other people died.
The U.N. migration agency said the boat had set sail from Tunisia with approximately 50 people on board. Most of the passengers were migrants from Tunisia and west Africa.
“This highlights once again that urgent action is needed to address the situation in the Mediterranean,” said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesperson for the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR.
“More than 1,000 people have died on the Mediterranean this year alone, most on the route from Libya to Europe,” he said.
According to the Italian interior ministry some 7,939 migrants have reached Italy by boat so far this year, down 63% on the same period in 2018 and 93% on 2017 levels.