Urgent EU meeting called after tragic new turn in migrant crisis

Published April 19th, 2015 - 06:46 GMT

As if things could not get any worse, there is another tragic turn in the European migrant crisis.

As many as 700 are feared dead after a fishing boat packed with migrants capsized overnight off the Libyan coast. About 30 have been rescued.

It is reported there was panic on the vessel when people got up and rushed to one side to attract the attention of a passing ship.

In the past week alone more than 13,000 migrants from war zones in Africa and the Middle East have been rescued attempting to reach Europe.

Reacting to news of the latest capsize, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “Every day in the Mediterranean we’re witnessing a massacre, the pain of so many people that we’re turning a blind eye to.”

There is pressure on European leaders, with growing calls for more coordinated EU action.

Francois Hollande, the French President, said on Sunday: “It does concern us. The Mediterranean is our common sea, between Africa and Europe, so we must act.

“I have asked for an urgent meeting with all interior and foreign ministers, a summit of all these European ministers.”

The latest disaster could be one of the worst of its kind so far in the Mediterranean.

The deaths are expected to bring the number of known drownings since the start of the year to close to 1600.

By Seamus Kearney


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