“More Than 2,000 Migrants Rescued Off Italy in 48 Hours”
BBC News, Mar. 19, 2014
“Italian authorities say they have rescued more than 2,000 illegal migrants, many from North Africa, off Sicily’s coast in the past 48 hours. … Italian authorities said the migrants arrived on 13 overcrowded boats. Each of them was packed with men, women and children from countries including Eritrea and Syria, the BBC’s Alan Johnston, in Rome, reports. Most were picked up by Italian navy and coastguard crews, but two private vessels also got involved in the wide-ranging rescue effort in waters south of Sicily. The people traffickers who organise the dangerous sea crossings from places like the ports of Libya, seem to have been taking advantage of a spell of good, calm sailing weather, our correspondent says. … Latest figures from the European Union’s border control agency show more than 20,000 people tried to reach Italian shores in 2013. This is thought to account for almost half of the EU’s illegal migration.”
Quickie analysis: Immigrants trying to escape desperate situations in their home countries aim for the EU’s cash-poor but coast-rich southern periphery — Italy, Spain, and Greece.