43 dead, including women and children, as migrant boat hits rocks near Italy


(CNN) Italian police say at least 43 people, including an infant, children and several women, have died when a wooden boat carrying about 100 migrants wrecked on rocks off the coast of Calabria.

The first three bodies were found on a beach near Staccato di Cattro in southern Italy around 4:40 a.m. local time on Sunday.

Italian firefighters told CNN that about 80 people were rescued after water pooled on the wreckage of the boat. According to the fire brigade, the survivors were from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is not clear from where the ship was launched.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blamed human traffickers. “It is criminal to launch a boat of only 20 meters long with 200 people in rough weather,” he said in a statement. “It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the price of a ticket under the false perspective of a safe journey.”

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said new measures must be taken to reduce such dangerous journeys. “It is necessary to continue taking every possible initiative to prevent departures by any means and discourage crossings,” he said in a statement.

Also Read: Migrant boat separated from Italy; 43 dead, 80 left .

Parliament approved new laws this week that make it more difficult for NGOs to carry out rescue operations.

Deadly Migration Route

UNHCR records show that so far in 2023, 11,874 people have arrived in Italy by sea, of whom 678 have reached Calabria.

Typically, arrivals come from African countries rather than the Middle East and Asia, with most boats departing from Libya.

Only 8.3% comes from Pakistan, 6.7% from Afghanistan and 0.7% from Iran. The rest are mainly from Africa, with 17.3% of arrivals from Ivory Coast alone, 13.1% from Guinea. Other African countries, including North African countries, make up most of the rest.

The deadliest migration route is the central Mediterranean route, where at least 20,334 people have died since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project.

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