(CNN) At least 43 people, including an infant, children and several women, died after a wooden boat carrying about 100 people died. immigrants It crashed on rocks off the coast of Calabria, Italian police say.
The first three bodies washed ashore near Staccato di Cutro in the south Italy Around 4:40 a.m. local time on Sunday.
The Italian fire brigade told CNN that about 80 people were rescued from the water caught by parts of the boat. The fire brigade said the survivors were from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is not clear where the ship departed from.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blamed human traffickers. “It is criminal to launch a 20-meter boat with 200 people on board in bad weather,” it said in a statement. “It is inhuman to trade the lives of men, women and children for the price of a ticket with the wrong perspective of a safe journey.”
Interior Minister Matteo Bentedosi added that new measures must be taken to curb such risky journeys. “It is necessary to continue with every possible initiative to stop departures and discourage crossings in any way that takes advantage of the illusory mirage of a better life,” he said in a statement.
Meloni has made stopping migrant boats a priority for her far-right government. Parliament this week approved new laws that make it more difficult for NGOs to carry out rescue operations.
killer migration route
UNHCR records show that 11,874 people have arrived in Italy so far in 2023 by sea, with 678 of them arriving in Calabria.
Arrivals usually come from African countries, rather than the Middle East and Asia, as the majority of boats depart from Libya.
Only 8.3% of the arrivals are from Pakistan, 6.7% are from Afghanistan and 0.7% are from Iran. The rest are mainly from Africa, with 17.3% arriving from Ivory Coast alone, and 13.1% from Guinea. Other African countries, including those in North Africa, make up most of the remainder.
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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