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Italian navy takes pictures of refugee boat sinking

26 May 2016 13:17



The Italian navy has released images of the dramatic capsizing of an overcrowded refugee boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

The incident occurred on Wednesday when the boat, crammed with people, overturned off the Libyan coast in the southern Mediterranean Sea. Almost all of the passengers from the sinking vessel were rescued by the navy.

The Italian navy said in a statement on the same day that the boat capsized “due to overcrowding and instability caused by the high number of people on board.”

The navy said it managed to rescue 562 people. Five dead bodies, it said, were also found.

Women and children were among those rescued, but no details of their nationalities have been provided in reports.

A man holds a child as refugees disembark a coast guard boat at the Greek port of Mytilene, on Lesbos Island, April 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The sea crossing between Libya and Italy is the main route for the refugees trying to reach Europe irregularly since a deal between the European Union (EU) and Turkey in March limited the number of those passing across the Aegean Sea to Greece.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 6,000 lives have been saved from flimsy crafts in recent days, 11,000 since the start of the month, and 39,000 since the start of the year.

The IOM says more than 183,000 refugees have entered Europe by sea in 2016, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain, while over 1,230 people died or went missing in their perilous journey to the continent.

Global solidarity on refugee crisis

Speaking on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Japan on Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk said the world needs to show solidarity with Europe regarding the refugee crisis and recognize that it is a global problem.

Donald Tusk gives a press conference at the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Tusk said European countries need further assistance in dealing with the influx of refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

“We are aware that it is because of geography that the most responsibility is, and will continue to be, placed on Europe,” he said, adding that, “If we (G7) do not take the lead in managing this crisis, nobody would.”

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Many blame major European powers for the exodus, saying Western policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.

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