Nine African migrants die in latest attempt to cross Mediterranean

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Survivors rescued by the Italian coastguard after their ship carrying some 50 migrants began taking on water, are brought to safety at the port of Lampedusa, Italy October 7, 2019. REUTERS.

Italy’s coastguard rescued 22 people from a boat that sank off the coast of Lampedusa. But officials said, unfortunately, nine other people died.

Survivors rescued by the Italian coastguard after their ship carrying some 50 migrants began taking on water, are brought to safety at the port of Lampedusa, Italy October 7, 2019. REUTERS

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.

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