Nearly four dozen migrants died in a shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa last week, local outlets reported Wednesday.
Only four people survived of the 45 passengers aboard the ship that departed from Tunisia last Thursday and sank just hours later. The survivors floated on inner tubes until a merchant ship found them and took them to the island this week.
The survivors may have floated in the water for a day before the boat, the Rimona, found them and transferred them to a Coast Guard vessel. Authorities reported they did not see or rescue any other passengers from the sunk ship.
The survivors said they came from the Ivory Coast and Guinea and had no relation to the other passengers, Italian outlet Ansa reported.
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The boat had carried at least three children, but only a 13-year-old boy survived from that number. The other survivors are a woman and two men.
The Italian Red Cross released a statement confirming that health care workers at a migrant center on the island had confirmed all four survivors in good health.
Several boats have sunk and dozens of African migrants killed by stormy weather over the weekend, with at least 30 people missing from two shipwrecks in that time, with only two confirmed deaths from the incidents.
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The Italian Coast Guard managed to rescue 57 people from those two boats. Officials reported on Monday that 16 migrants total had died from shipwrecks off the coasts of Tunisia and Western Sahara, the South China Morning Post reported.
Italy’s migrant crisis continues to spiral, with 92,000 migrants arriving since the start of the year, of which 43,000 have traveled by sea.
International Organization of Migration reported that at least 2,000 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean so far this year, the vast majority of whom – around 1,800 people – traveled via the “Central Mediterranean route.”
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The Missing Migrants Project of the IOM reported around 27,800 migrants have gone missing while trying to cross the route since 2014.
The Italian Red Cross took over the migrant center on Lampedusa, which suffered from a lack of doctors and poor conditions prior to the handover on June 1.
The organization cleared out trash from the center and installed new bathrooms in an effort to rid the center of a foul smell. A new medical team now works at the center, and they updated the cots and improved the facility’s emergency capacity, RFI reported.