1400 refugees rescued off Italy in southern Mediterranean

Italy rescues nearly 1400 refugees from southern Mediterranean Sea

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees are inspected by policemen as they disembark from the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot at Pozzallo's harbour, Italy, March 29, 2016.

Nearly 1,400 refugees were rescued off Italy in the southern Mediterranean sea by the Italian coast guard as well as by navy vessels on Tuesday.

The navy rescued around 570 refugees while the coast guard saved about 780. The rising numbers show that more refugees are making their way into Europe as the weather gets warmer.

The same day, another 730 refugees were rescued in several separate operations and were transferred to a larger ship from which they will disembark in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.

The majority of the refugees come from African countries and most probably left from Libya.

The Italian Navy tweeted a picture of the refugees arriving at the port.

Elsewhere, refugees have not stopped trying to reach Greece through Turkey, the Turkish coast guard said on Tuesday.

The Turkish coast guard supported by a Turkish-flagged warship rescued 70 Syrian refugees from the Aegean Sea in the western province of Izmir.

The operation comes after Turkey held talks with the European Union in order to control the refugee influx reaching an agreement in which refugees arriving in Greece from Turkey will be sent back.

The Greek government said on Wednesday that 766 people arrived at the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios and Kos by Wednesday morning despite the agreement.

"I want to go to Germany because my country, Pakistan, is very poor and dangerous," Pakistani refugee Ali Amir said.

"In Pakistan we have money problems and all of us here, the people [are] very poor," he added.

Idomeni refugees refuse to leave camp

Meanwhile, refugees still waiting at the Greek-Macedonian border remain at a makeshift camp refusing to leave.

The refugees have been blocking trains from coming in and out of the country for 12 days to protest against the border being closed.

Refugees queue for food at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, March 30, 2016.

Police have attempted to remove refugees where clashes are reported.

The main reason why the refugees refuse to move is the fear of Greek authorities keeping them in reception centers.

"We thought they will not allow us to cross the border anyway, not just from this way, not in the bus or airplane. Even that programme they told us was a relocation programme - it is very failed, failed so much," Syrian refugee Fares said.

The European Union is trying to implement a relocation program into other EU countries.

However, refugees say that they are not well informed on how to apply while at the same time they are falsely informed about the border opening or about other open routes to Europe through leaflets distributed at the camps.

From the 12,000 refugees still stuck in the border, only around 1,000 have left since March 25 while the rest remain at the camp hoping to continues their journey.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke in a conference in Geneva on Wednesday urging countries to take in more Syrian refugees.

He said countries should "act with solidarity, in the name of our shared humanity, by pledging new and additional pathways for the admission of Syrian refugees."

He said that those pathways "can include resettlement or humanitarian admission, family reunions, as well as labor or study opportunities."

"When managed properly, accepting refugees is a win for everyone," he added.

TRTWorld and agencies