Eleven Dead and Dozens Missing in Two Shipwrecks off Italian Coast: Rescuers Struggle to Save Lives
Eleven Dead and Dozens Missing in Two Shipwrecks off Italian Coast: Rescuers Struggle to Save Lives

At least 11 people have died and over 60 are missing following two shipwrecks off the southern coast of Italy, rescue teams report.

German charity RESQSHIP rescued 51 people from a sinking wooden boat and found 10 bodies trapped on the lower deck near the island of Lampedusa on Monday. In a separate incident the same day, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported more than 60 people missing, including 26 children.

The boats were carrying migrants who had departed from Libya and Turkey, according to UN agencies. Survivors from the Lampedusa shipwreck were handed over to the Italian coastguard and brought ashore, while the bodies of the deceased were towed to the island, RESQSHIP reported.

The Lampedusa boat had migrants from Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as stated by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UNICEF in a joint statement.

The other shipwreck occurred about 125 miles off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy. Of the 12 survivors, one person died after disembarking, the Italian coastguard confirmed.

MSF's Shakilla Mohammadi reported hearing from survivors that 66 people were unaccounted for, including 26 children, some only a few months old. "Entire families from Afghanistan are presumed dead. They left from Turkey eight days ago and had taken on water for three or four days. They told us they had no life vests, and some vessels did not stop to help them," she said.

The Mediterranean is considered the deadliest migration route in the world, with more than 23,500 migrants having died or gone missing in its waters since 2014, according to UN data.

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