Migrant tragedies sharpen calls for safe passage

VALLETTA, Malta — Three deadly Mediterranean shipwrecks that claimed the lives of hundreds of would-be asylum-seekers fleeing war and repression sharpened calls Saturday for humanitarian corridors to allow safe passage to Europe.

At least 34 people drowned in Maltese waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa when a boat packed with hundreds of Syrians and Palestinians capsized on Friday, the same day another 12 migrants died in a shipwreck off of Egypt.

Those tragedies came just eight days after at least 339 Eritreans died when their boat sank within sight of Lampedusa, in one of the worst verified migrant sea tragedies on the Mediterranean.

Facing unrest and persecution in Africa and the Middle East, many migrants risk the often perilous journey to Lampedusa, a gateway to Europe just 70 miles (113 kilometers) from Africa, in rickety boats procured by people smugglers who charge more than 1,600 euros ($2,200).

Most are asylum seekers, fleeing civil war in Syria or repression and mandatory conscription in Eritrea, unlike the waves of economic migrants a decade ago.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres expressed concern that Syrians fleeing conflict have sought to reach Europe by such a perilous route, calling it “inhumane.”

“They escaped bullets and bombs only to perish before they could ever claim asylum,” he said, adding that there had been reports that the vessel had been fired on shortly after departing Zwara, Libya.

U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon called for action to prevent future tragedies “that places the vulnerability and human rights of migrants at the center,” while Pope Francis lamented that “too often we are blinded by our comfortable lives, and refuse to see those dying at our doorstep.”

The boat in Maltese waters capsized afternoon about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Lampedusa, in waters where Malta has search and rescue responsibilities.

A joint Italian-Malta operation rescued nearly 200 people after the Italian Coast Guard received a distress call via satellite phone from the boat and a Maltese aircraft sighted the capsized boat with numerous people in the water. At least 34 people died, while 146 survivors were brought to Malta.

The victims included a 3-year-old boy whose body was found floating in the sea more than a day after the boat capsized, said Silvio Scerri, the chief of staff at Malta’s Home Affairs Ministry.

The U.N. refugee agency said survivors claim up to 400 people were on board. Search operations were still under way.

Other survivors, 56 in all, who were not in immediate need of medical attention were heading to Sicily on board an Italian frigate.

Italian Naval spokesman Cmdr. Marco Maccaroni said also rescued some 180 people from other boats in the same area overnight — another indication of the relentless flows of migrants braving the Mediterranean.

“The flows have never stopped, especially over the summer months,” Maccaroni said. “The two accidents in such a short period have raised the attention of the public, but the tensions have been going on all summer.”

Some 30,100 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 15,000 in all of 2012, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

At least 70,000 Syrians are registered in Egypt as refugees. Many, including thousands of Palestinians who also fled the war in Syria, are not registered and use the country as a stopover before making the perilous sea trip to Europe.

Just 155 people survived in last week’s shipwreck off Lampedusa. Caskets carrying the bodies of 80 of the 339 people, mostly Eritreans, who died were boarded on a ferry in Lampedusa to be transported to Sicily, where the victims of last week’s shipwreck are to be buried.

“Urgent measures must be adopted to open humanitarian corridors. There is no time to lose,” said Francesco Rocca, the president of the Italian Red Cross, emphasizing that people escaping war and repression must be given a safe route of escape. “In this way it would hit also the traffickers and we could stop this ceaseless massacre.”

Italy’s integration minister, Cecile Kyenge, called for increased patrols to stop smugglers.

“Behind these tragedies, as the dramatic instability of African countries increases, there are human traffickers who are enriching themselves on the backs of people who are fleeing war and hunger,” said the Congolese-borne Kyenge.

Europe, an Italian observatory that tracks migrant deaths reported by the media, says about 6,450 people died in the Strait of Sicily where Lampedusa is located between 1994 and 2012. Often ships disappear at sea, leaving no way to verify the deaths.

————

Barry reported from Milan.

ad-high_impact_4
News
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like