Baku. 15 April. REPORT.AZ/ An estimated 400 migrants, including children are believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya while trying to reach Italy last weekend, survivors who reached the Italian mainland Tuesday told an international charity organization.
Report informs referring the information given by the Anadolu Agency, The eyewitnesses who recounted the tragedy were among 150 survivors who landed at the port of Reggio Calabria on Tuesday aboard the Italian Navy vessel Orione after being rescued in separate operations, maritime sources said.
In total, as many as 5,000 migrants reached Italy between Saturday and Monday at the isle of Lampedusa, in Sicily, Calabria and Apulia, including some 450 children of whom 317 were unaccompanied, Save the Children officials said.
The surge in migrants trying to reach Italy from Libya was said to be because of recent good weather that was encouraging human smugglers to load desperate refugees and migrants aboard poorly-equipped vessels.
About the reasons why migrants were taking the extreme steps, Valerio Neri, director-general of Save the Children in Italy, said: "Many have lived through atrocious experiences of violence they have undergone or witnessed, and some have lost friends, relatives or parents, in recent shipwrecks."
According to their accounts, the situation in Libya was ever more out of control than previously believed, and the violence in the streets there was constantly getting worse than before. "It is fundamental to guarantee adequate reception and the necessary support, also psychologically, especially for the most vulnerable," Neri said.
One survivor was quoted as saying: "Near Tripoli, we lived in a sardine factory for four months. We were over 1,000 people. We ate only once a day and could not do anything. If anyone spoke to a friend or a neighbor he was beaten up.