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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Migration: 67 dead after boat accident – debate about rescue operation

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The death toll is increasing. More than 140 people were traveling to the Italian coast in a wooden boat during the night when it capsized. The Coast Guard didn’t move out until the morning – too late for many.

After the boat accident in southern Italy, the number of fatalities continued to rise – to 67. The body of a girl was found on Wednesday morning, as a commander of the Carabinieri said on request. On Sunday, an overcrowded wooden boat with more than 140 refugees and migrants sank in rough seas in the Mediterranean. A number of children are among the victims. The coffins were set up in a gym in the town of Crotone. The helpers placed a blue toy car on a white child’s coffin. The forces are still looking for victims. About 80 people survived the sinking.

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Meanwhile, Italy is debating whether and how the people could have been helped before the boat sank just before reaching the mainland. “Nobody wanted to save her,” headlined the Roman daily “La Repubblica” on Wednesday. “You let her die.”

Interior Minister causes outrage

After a reconstruction of the events, a plane from the European border protection agency Frontex sighted the boat, which had started in Turkey, around 40 nautical miles off the coast on Saturday evening. This was also reported to Rome. The Financial Police sent two ships to search; but they did not find the boat. It was not until the early morning that an emergency call was received from the boat, whereupon the carabinieri and coast guard moved out. But the wooden boat had already sunk when they arrived. Experts criticize that ships did not go on the search during the night.

The Interior Minister of the Italian right-wing government, Matteo Piantedosi, also caused outrage. The non-party politician said after the accident that parents couldn’t be so desperate to put their children in such a boat. The opposition then accused him of also blaming the victims, many of whom came from Afghanistan and Syria. Piantedosi recently issued sharp new rules against civil aid organizations traveling in the Mediterranean.

Source: Stern

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