Two overcrowded migrant vessels adrift in central Mediterranean: NGO

Rome, Apr 12 (EFE).- Two fishing boats with a total of 800 migrants on board were stranded waiting to be rescued in the central Mediterranean on Wednesday, sea rescue NGO Sea-Watch said.

“A rescue operation is needed immediately,” the German rescuer wrote on Twitter, after spotting them with its aircraft.

Two freighters are monitoring the two boats but no interventions have taken place yet, according to Sea-Watch.

Meanwhile, some 700 migrants currently being rescued by the Italian coastguard off the coast of Sicily are expected to arrive in Catania in the coming hours, while the regional civil protection services have set up two large rooms in a former vaccination center to accommodate migrants arriving in Sicily.

Over the past three days, nearly 3,000 migrants have landed in Italy, prompting the Italian government led by far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni to declare a state of emergency for the next six months.

The measure, proposed by the Minister of Civil Protection and Maritime Policies, Nello Musumeci, will be implemented throughout the country with an initial funding of 5 million euros.

Oscar Camps, founder of the migrant rescue NGO Open Arms, described on Wednesday the state of emergency as a “nightmare,” saying it was not a consequence of the migrant arrivals but rather a “propaganda campaign” by Meloni’s government.

“It is a propaganda campaign by the government of Meloni to create alarm and noise and it is not justified,” Camps told Efe.

Nearly 30,000 migrants have arrived in Italy during the first three months of 2023, 300% more than the 6,800 recorded in 2022. EFE


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