Palermo (Italy), June 20 (IANS/AKI) An Italian coastguard ship docked in the Sicilian capital Palermo on Monday with 1,096 people on board including 11 pregnant women, as the surge in migrant crossings continues.
Among the migrants rescued in the Strait of Sicily were 751 men, 160 women – including one with severe burns – and 185 minors, coastguard and port officials said.
The burns victim was immediately taken to hospital in Palermo, while police officers, local health authority officials and charity workers waited to assist the other migrants as they disembarked.
Boat arrivals to Italy from North Africa rose 17 percent in 2017 from last year, with a surge in migrants from Bangladesh and Nigeria and increased numbers from Guinea Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco and Mali, according to figures issued on Friday.
A total of 65,450 boat migrants reached Italy this year as of June 14 – 85 percent of arrivals across the Mediterranean, said the UN migration agency, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
A total of 1,737 people perished on the treacherous sea route from Libya to Italy or 95 percent of this year’s deaths in the Mediterranean, the IOM figures showed.