Italy coastguard recovers 12 migrant bodies after boat sinks

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Italy’s coastguard said Thursday it had recovered 12 more bodies including women and children after a migrant boat sank this week off the southern coast with more than 60 people reported missing.

Eleven people survived after the boat sank around 120 nautical miles off the coast of Calabria overnight Sunday-Monday.

At least 26 children, some a few months old, are believed to be among the dead, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has been helping survivors.

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The coastguard said it had recovered “a further 12 bodies, including women and children” in the Ionian sea. The confirmed death toll is now 20, it said.

Ten bodies were found in a separate shipwrecked migrant boat on Monday off the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to German aid group ResQship.

Some 3,155 migrants died or disappeared in the Mediterranean last year, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.

More than 1,000 have died or are missing so far this year.

The central Mediterranean -- the area between North Africa and Italy and Malta -- is the deadliest known migration route in the world, accounting for 80 percent of the deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean.

Many migrants set off by boat from Tunisia or Libya, with Italy often their first port of call.

Arrivals have dropped considerably this year, with 24,290 people landing in Italy so far, compared to more than 58,000 in the same period in 2023, according to the interior ministry.

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