A small boat crammed with nearly 70 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was rescued by the Italian coastguard who found many of the people on board suffering from severe burns, including young children.
One 25-year-old woman had died of her injuries. Italy has seen an influx of migrants and refugees as boats like this one are arriving on a daily basis. The numbers speak loudly as seen in one week, over 13,000 people were rescued at sea.
Those who survived the ordeal you see in the video here were in such shock they could barely recount the events hours earlier as UNHCR staff interviewed them.
The tiny island of Lampedusa is Italian territory and is just off shore from Tunisia and Libya. Yet just far enough that impoverished people looking for a way into Europe find themselves in
situations where the sea journey is an extremely dangerous one as they crowd into tiny boats. Sometimes at the hands of smugglers as some accounts have told.
Migration experts are saying the death toll here is expected to increase tenfold in 2015 in comparison to the death toll last year.
The International Organization for Migration said 450 people had been killed attempting to make the treacherous crossing in the past week, describing it as “an extraordinary period of traffic”.
Sources include Reuters, UNHCR