More than 300 people are feared dead after boats were found in the Mediterranean. On one boat, 29 people froze to death as there was no space in the deck. UNHCR claims that the boats had left Lybia on Saturday with 4 dinghies.
Survivors said that before departure they were locked in rooms, in Tripoli, and waited for days to start their journey. The human traffickers then came abruptly and took them to a beach, forcing them on the boats. Many migrants did not want to get on board as the conditions were clearly horrific for a boat journey. They were threatened at gun point to board the dinghies and had no choice but to get on.
Italian authorities have claimed that the Triton mission, which substituted the Mare Nostrum as it was too expensive, is not enough to tackle the issue. The EU’s Triton border patrol is not designed to do search and rescue operations. It cannot preempt trouble in international waters – it can only act when lives are immediately at risk, meaning that it is often too late.
Europe cannot turn a blind eye to this situation and leave people to freeze to death and the Italian government, and the people of Lampedusa, to deal with this situation.