Nearly 700 migrants on boats from Tunisia and Libya reach Italy overnight

Nearly 700 migrants reached the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa in boats overnight, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Thursday morning. Altogether, 14 disembarkations were recorded.

The boats arrived in port unassisted or the people were rescued at sea off the island.

By Wednesday, more than 1,200 people had arrived, bringing the total number of migrants who have reached Lampedusa since Wednesday to almost 2,000.

Ten of the 14 boats left from the Tunisian coastal town of Sfax, ANSA reported. Another boat left from Kerkenna, also in Tunisia, while three others left from Libya.

The migrants were first taken to a reception camp on the Italian island. The migrant camp, which has a capacity of around 400 people, is now overcrowded, according to ANSA.

Lampedusa is located between Sicily and North Africa, around 190 kilometres from Sfax.

Many people attempt to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boat from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean.

The Italian Ministry of the Interior has recorded more than 61,200 people reaching Italy by boat this year, compared with around 27,300 during the same period last year.

Attempts to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea sometimes lead to tragic boat accidents.

Around a fortnight ago, hundreds of migrants attempting to cross from Libya to Italy drowned off the coast of Greece.


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