The Italian coast guard says there have been a series of rescues in recent days as people desperately seek a better life in Europe.
Italian Coast Guard said Italian ships had recovered five bodies and rescued 674 people packed on a fishing boat in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, while European charities claimed to have saved more than 500 refugees in other operations.
Some of the survivors had to be pulled from the sea during Saturday’s Italian operation 118 miles (190km) off the coast of Calabria by a Navy mercenary, three Coast Guard patrol boats and a police boat financial supervision. All those rescued were taken to ports in Calabria and Sicily.
The cause of death for the five casualties was not immediately known.
The coast guard on Sunday said it was just one rescue in a series of rescues in recent days in Italy’s search and rescue region in the central Mediterranean, as desperate people hope. escape poverty or oppression seeking a better life in Europe.
In one case, a helicopter was called in to evacuate a woman in need of medical treatment from a precarious migrant boat, the Coast Guard said.
In separate operations, German charity Sea-Watch says it has rescued 444 refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean in overcrowded and rickety smugglers’ boats. The Sea-Watch 3 performed five operations in 24 hours, and said those rescued included a pregnant woman and a man with severe burns.
The charity is asking for permission to bring the rescued people to a safe port, as the lifeboat cannot hold too many people.
Hannah Wallace Bowman, head of mission and search and rescue coordinator at Sea-Watch, told Al Jazeera that the group frequently experienced “a lack of coordination and support at the European level for searchers” safety” in the heart of the Mediterranean.
“We will be calling directly to the nearest safe port, for us it will be Malta and Italy, so that we can get people off the ship as soon as possible,” said Wallace Bowman.
“We’re like a floating ambulance – we can provide emergency response, we can stabilize people for a short period of time, but this is only a very short-term solution.”
In addition, the European charity SOS Mediterranee says its Ocean Viking rescue ship has saved 87 people, including 57 unaccompanied minors, from an overcrowded rubber boat off the coast. off the coast of Libya. No one had life jackets, the charity said.
The number of refugees arriving in Italy is up by almost a quarter from 2021, with 34,013 recorded as of Friday.
While still significantly less than the peak year of 2015, the crossings are still deadly, with 1,234 people dead or missing at sea by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees this year, 823 in some of them in the central Mediterranean region.