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Migrants: record numbers rescued in the Med

21 April 2017

At least 20 migrants trying to reach Europe have drowned off the coast of Libya, a Reuters photographer said.

Jugend Rette, a German NGO involved in the rescuing of migrants, told AFP that good spring weather has led to increased numbers of people attempting the unsafe crossing in recent days, Deutsche Welle reports.

German NGO Jugend Rettet, which took part in the rescue operations on Saturday, said 3,000 people had been plucked to safety during a particularly busy day amid fine Spring weather in the Mediterranean.

A rescue ship on Saturday brought 504 migrants and one corpse to Pozzallo, Sicily, and while another boat brought about 500 other migrants to Augusta, Sicily.

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More than 24,000 migrants arrived in Italy from Libya during the first three months of the year, up from 18,000 during the same period last year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Italian coast guard reported launching 19 rescue missions as migrants from Libya attempted to make the trip in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

"Every day people continue to risk their lives while we, as civil society, stand witness", said Regina Catrambone, MOAS Co-Founder and Director.

Friday had already seen some 2,000 people rescued while the body of one young man was found, presumed asphyxiated, aboard one vessel bursting with people.

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The pregnant woman and 25 other migrants were aboard a vessel that was taking on water in the Atlantic Ocean when reached by the rescue boat Salvamar Gadir before daybreak Friday. More people will die.

The council rejected the stories based on a report issued Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), saying there was no evidence to support the allegations, according to a statement published by the Libyan Unity Government-affiliated Libyan News Agency. The weekend is set to be the latest marker in the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The voice that is often missing from the discussion is often that of the migrants themselves. "We agree. Where are Frontex boats in a day like this?"

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