Health and border officials in Malta and Italy are struggling today to recover the stories and cadavers of at least 800 migrants believed to have drowned in five separate incidents, the majority – at least 500 – killed when their boat was deliberately rammed and sunk by Egyptian smugglers whom they had paid for the voyage.
A migration crisis of biblical proportions is unfolding in southern Europe: a record 130,000 migrants have arrived in Italy and Malta from northern Africa in the first nine months of 2014. Nearly 3,000 have drowned in the Mediterranean sea. This past weekend appears to be one of the deadliest ever.
“This is not an accident – this is mass homicide,” said Simona Moscarelli of the International Organisation for Migration, speaking of the reported ramming.
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, who has been visiting Maltese Naval Rescue HQ, said on Monday,
“We all need to wake up to the scale of this crisis.