Migrants rescued from Mediterranean arrive in Sicily

More than 1,200 refugees relocated to Sicily after being rescued from Mediterranean by Italian coastguard

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Italian coastguard has managed to relocate more than 1,200 migrants to Palermo, Sicily, from the Libyan coast as a part of an EU border security operation.

Some 468 migrants, including 133 women and 27 children, were also transferred to the southeastern Sicilian city of Pozzallo.

Europe-bound migrants from different parts of the world mostly pass to Greece and Italy after departing from the Libyan coast. Most of them are fleeing war and poverty in their homelands, seeking better living conditions.

However, many migrants never reach their final destination, with many of them losing their lives to the harsh travel conditions. More and more deaths are being reported as migrants increasingly attempt to cross between countries and continents.

According to  the International Organization for Migration, more than 1,900 migrants have lost their lives this year trying to pass to Europe, whereas some 150,000 migrants have managed to reach their destination.

However, migrants are usually rejected for permanent settlement and often sent back to their countries. Those who are able  to settle in Italy have to deal with unemployment which is currently up to 12 percent, with younger people facing 40 percent unemployment.

After the migrants were picked up from the port, they were given socks, shoes, water as first aid.

"If the international community doesn't stop them leaving, a lot more will die," local fisherman Giovanni told the BBC.

"The straits here are dangerous. They're not deep, so the waves get big quickly," he added.

Local fishermen believe that the migrants are exploited and put into danger when put in small boats that can not hold a large number of people.

"It's really bad to die that way," another fisherman, Mario, told the BBC. "Put 200 people on a boat like ours, and of course it goes straight down."

TRTWorld and agencies