ITALY / SURVIVORS IN SICILY

21-Apr-2015 00:02:54
The 28 survivors of what is expected to be the biggest migration sea tragedy in the Mediterranean   landed ashore in Sicily, Italy. Earlier in the day the recovered bodies of those who lost their lives were taken to Malta. Around 800 people lost their lives in the tragedy, only 24 bodies were recovered.  UNHCR
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STORY: ITALY / SURVIVORS IN SICILY
TRT 2:54
SOURCE: UNHCR
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
DATELINE 21 APRIL, SICILY
SHOTLIST

1. Wide shots, various, coast guard ships arriving and tying up.
2. Wide shots, v various of Italian Coast Guard vessel carrying survivors of capsized migrant boat, being escorted into a port in Sicily
3. Med shots survivor on board vessel
4. Med shot, survivors leaving the vessel
5. Med shot, survivors leaving the vessel
6. Med shot, survivors leaving the vessel
7. Med shot bus pulling away, pan to ship
8. SOUNDBITE (English), Barbara Molinario, UNHCR: “Unfortunately they confirmed that there were roughly 800 people onboard the boat when they departed Libya Saturday morning at eight. The nationalities were Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Mali and other nationalities. And they said that there were some children and women onboard, none of them survived.”
9. Med shot, survivors leaving the vessel
10. SOUNDBITE (English), Barbara Molinario, UNHCR “They were very tired and very traumatized. One of them was taken to the hospital, the others received medical attention they had new clothes distributed to them and had some food before being transported to reception facility.”
11. Pan shot survivor leaving the vessel


STORYLINE:

The 28 survivors of what is expected to be the biggest migration sea tragedy in the Mediterranean landed ashore in Sicily, Italy. Earlier in the day the recovered bodies of those who lost their lives were taken to Malta. Around 800 people lost their lives in the tragedy, only 24 bodies were recovered.

Just as the survivals were disembarking there were six rescue operations underway to save the lives of some 1500 migrants and refugees stranded at sea.


The UN refugee agency UNHCR) on Tuesday welcomed European plans to tackle the challenges of irregular migration in the Mediterranean, but said saving human lives at sea should remain the priority after hundreds of refugees and migrants lost their lives.

The European Union (EU) Joint Foreign Affairs and Home Council on Monday proposed a 10-point action plan on migration following a week of shipwrecks on the Mediterranean, including the most deadly recorded by UNHCR.
According to survivors interviewed by UNHCR, the boat departed from Tripoli in Libya on Saturday morning with some 850 people on board, including 350 Eritreans as well as people from Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

"Only 28 people are known to have survived the shipwreck, including a young man from Bangladesh who was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Catania, Sicily, on Sunday, and 27 people disembarked by the Italian Coastguard in Catania last night [Monday]," UNHCR spokesman Arian Edwards told journalists in Geneva.

"From available information and the various accounts we've had, UNHCR now believes the number of fatalities to have been over 800, making this the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean we have ever recorded," he added.
UNHCR staff in Catania said the survivors looked tired and nervous. Aid workers presented them with clothes and food.

"The fear in the eyes of one man, his head lowered and hands stuffed into his pockets, is plain to see," wrote Kate Bond, a writer for UNHCR. "One survivor told UNHCR staff that there were children aboard the boat. So far, none of them have been found, although search-and-rescue operations at the site continue," she added.

The refugees and migrants were taken by bus to a nearby reception centre, where they received medical attention. Dazed, vacant faces stared out of the windows of the bus as it pulled away into the dark night.

"The migrants looked exhausted, fragile, astonished to see so many people waiting for them. They will need psychological support. They are receiving food and water," said UNHCR spokesperson Carlotta Sami in Catania.

Also Tuesday, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) urged the international community to commit to “swift, collective and courageous action” and address the surge in illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea which has resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and endangered innumerable children.

In a statement issued earlier today, UNICEF warned that reports of tragedies on the Mediterranean were becoming “all too frequent and the human cost all too high,” adding that children often shouldered the greater burden of illegal migration and its repercussions.
“Children who find themselves on these journeys are exposed to abuse, exploitation and possibly death and, if they survive, are often placed in unsafe and unsuitable conditions and / or criminalized,” the statement declared.

“We ask that all actions are guided by the best interests of every one of these children, every step of the way,” it continued. “No matter their refugee or migrant status, children are to be cared for in a safe place - and not in a detention facility - with access to education, health, social and legal services with full implementation of existing safeguards especially for the most vulnerable.”

Italy's 'Mare Nostrum,' a major search and rescue programme aimed at saving migrants in the Mediterranean, was replaced in December 2014 by the European Union's current 'Triton' operation amid an uptick in sea crossings in the region. Nonetheless, the number of casualties for this year has already grown to 1,600 – almost half of the 2014 total of 3,500.
2015, in fact, has seen some 31,500 people make crossings to Italy and Greece – the first and second largest countries of arrival respectively. The UN refugee agency has reported that numbers have also been recently picking up as weather conditions in the Mediterranean improve.

“With the start of the warmer weather in Europe when numbers of migrants are likely to rise, decisive action could avoid more senseless deaths,” UNICEF concurred in its statement.

“This means following the EU's existing safeguards for unaccompanied minors, strengthening search-and-rescue capacities to save and protect lives, prosecuting human traffickers, and tackling the root causes of migration in countries of origin - conflict, poverty and discrimination - to avoid more tragic losses. “
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