Around 5,000 refugees rescued in Mediterranean in one day

Favourable weather conditions have prompted a surge in departures of refugees from the Libyan coast.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees in a dinghy reach out towards Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) rescuers on board of the MOAS ship Topaz Responder around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya, June 23, 2016.

The Italian Coast Guard announced that around 5,000 refugees were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday.

A woman's body was recovered from a large rubber boat and the refugees were collected from a total of about 40 different vessels during the operations, in which five Italian Navy ships, two vessels from the EU’s Operation Sophia and another four from humanitarian organisations took part.

A coastguard spokesman suggested that favourable weather conditions have encouraged many people dreaming of better future in Europe to attempt the perilous sea crossing.

"We registered a large number of voyages today, after several days of bad weather at sea had stopped people leaving Libya," the spokesman said.

He added that the operations are continuing as the number of refugees might further rise.

Crew members aboard the vessel “Aquarius” vessel search for migrants in distress on the Mediterranean Sea, June 23, 2016. (Reuters)

According to figures released by the United Nations, more than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe in overcrowded and unseaworthy boats since 2014.

More than 50,000 people fleeing Africa have managed to complete the voyage to Italy, a country that is located on major migration routes used by those who want to claim asylum in northern Europe.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a deal between Turkey and the European Union aimed at stemming the refugee flow into Europe has reduced boat arrivals by 98 percent during the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2015.

However, arrivals to Italy continue at about the same rate as last year.

Since the beginning of this year, at least 56,000 refugee boats have been brought to Italy, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

TRTWorld and agencies