A 10-year-old Nigerian boy was found trying to comfort his grieving 11-year-old sister after they were rescued from a capsized overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean. The boy and his sister, who were not named for security purpose said their mother had died in Libya.
According to the Daily Mail of UK, the Nigerian siblings were rescued from an overcrowded migrant boat carrying 150 people about 23 kilometres north of Sabratha, Libya, while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
Both children were pictured visibly distressed as they were transferred from the dinghy to a Spanish NGO’s boat.
A leading migration group says more than 3,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, nearly a 60-per cent increase from this time in 2015.
The International Organisation for Migration said on Friday that the discovery of 39 bodies on Libyan shores last week raises the total, as of Wednesday, to 3,034 migrants and refugees who have died trying the crossing in 2016.
The figure marks the third straight year in which more than 3,000 people have died in such attempts.
IOM says more than a quarter-million migrants and refugees entered Europe, mostly to Greece and Italy, by sea this year. It noted in particular a rising trend of Nigerian women arriving in Italy, pointing to a ‘sharp increase’ since the start of 2015.
The latest rescue comes after Italy on Thursday launched a hard-hitting campaign on the internet, TV, radio and social media to warn African migrants of the many dangers they face in trying to reach Europe.
Dubbed ‘Aware Migrants,’ the 1.5-million-euro ($1.66-million) campaign is targeting 15 countries in West and North Africa which have been big sources of the migratory wave.
It features migrants recounting their suffering at the hands of ruthless smugglers or enduring the perilous Mediterranean crossing.
Since 2014, more than 10,000 migrants have died or are feared to have drowned while attempting the journey to Europe by sea, most losing their lives in the central Mediterranean, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
On Monday, it was confirmed the bodies of 87 migrants had been recovered on a Libyan beach since the weekend.
The bodies began washing up on the city’s beach west of Tripoli on Friday, the official said.
On Saturday, 41 bodies were found by a group of volunteers trained by the city council and sent to a morgue for DNA testing before being buried.
Italy’s Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, launching the project with the International Office of Migration (IOM) said an increasing number of migrants left for Europe to ‘pursue a dream, but ended up in a nightmare’
He recalled examples of women raped in front of their husbands in Libya, or people who witnessed seeing a loved-one die of thirst in the desert or drown at sea.
‘Did they know about all this before they left?’ he asked.
According to figures released by the interior ministry on July 2, 70,930 people landed in Italy between January and June this year. The full-year total of migrant arrivals for 2015 was 153,000.