It is extraordinary how we have simply tuned out of one the greatest human tragedies in decades. And it continues. Via The Guardian, a report by The Associated Press: Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week. Excerpt:
A flotilla of ships saved 668 people from boats in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, authorities in Italy said, bringing the week’s total of refugees plucked from the sea to 13,000 people.
The rescues by the Italian coast guard and navy ships, aided by Irish and German vessels and humanitarian groups, are the latest by a multinational patrol south of the Italian island of Sicily.
Warmer spring weather has led to a surge of people attempting the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe.
The Irish military said the vessel Le Roisin saved 123 people from a 12m-long (40-ft) rubber dinghy and recovered a male body. A German ship was involved in four separate rescue operations, the Italian coast guard said on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, with shelters filling up in Sicily, the Italian navy vessel Vega headed toward Reggio Calabria, a southern Italian mainland port, bringing 135 survivors and 45 bodies from a rescue a day earlier. The Vega was due to dock on Sunday.
Other survivors who arrived on Saturday in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo told authorities they had witnessed a fishing boat filled with “hundreds” of people sink on Thursday, a Save The Children spokeswoman, Giovanna Di Benedetto, told The Associated Press by telephone from Sicily.
According to survivors, two smugglers’ fishing boats and a dinghy set sail on Wednesday night from Libya’s coast. Di Benedetto said the survivors were among 500 or so aboard the one fishing boat that didn’t sink and the dinghy.
“All of this must be verified, of course,” said Di Benedetto, but if the survivors’ accounts bear out, as many as 400 people could have drowned, with only a very few of those on the vessel that sank able to reach the other boats.