More than 80 African migrants die in a boat disaster off the Italian coast

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The Italian coastguard brings survivors of Thursday’s tragedy to the harbour in Lampedusa.

More than 80 African migrants died when a boat they were on sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

The figure may be higher because the boat was carrying between 400 and 500 migrants, mainly from Eritrea but only about 140 of them had been rescued by the Italian coast guard by Thursday morning.

UNHCR says it's shocked at the news of the tragedy and is "dismayed at a rising global phenomenon of migrants and people fleeing conflict or persecution and perishing at sea."

Thursday's boat disaster is the second in a week off the Italian coast.

On Monday thirteen men drowned off the southern coast of Italy when they tried to swim ashore after their ship ran aground.

To find out more about the disaster and the rescue operation off the Italian island of Lampedusa, UN Radio's Patrick Maigua spoke with UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards in Geneva.

Duration: 4'36"

 

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