Nearly 4,000 Migrants Arrive in Southern Italy in Multiple Rescue Operations

Migrants and refugees disembark from a Maltese coast guard patrol vessel after being rescued at sea, on April 15, 2016, at the Messina harbor in Sicily.

On Tuesday morning, some 1,300 shipwrecked migrants were rescued in the Strait of Sicily and brought to Italy, joining the 2,600 migrants that came into Sicily over the weekend.

With the arrival of temperate weather, thousands of migrants continue to embark on the perilous crossing from northern Africa into Italy every week, many of whom have been picked up by ships of the Italian coastguard, the Italian Navy, and other vessels from groups such as Doctors without Borders.

On Tuesday, the Irish naval patrol vessel “Le Roisin” joined in the rescue efforts by bringing in 395 migrants from the southern Mediterranean, arriving into Sicily just after noon.

The 1,300 new arrivals have joined the more than 2,600 migrants that reached Italy between Sunday and Monday in boats that set sail from different points in North Africa. On Sunday, 636 migrants were rescued in Maltese waters as well from two failing vessels.

Tuesday’s arrivals brought the total number of migrants by sea into Italy to 31,000 so far this year, a trend expected to continue as Italy has become virtually the sole point of entry into Europe.

According to a number of humanitarian organizations, the sea passage between Libya and Italy has now become the prime route for asylum-seekers heading for Europe, as the so-called “Balkan route” was closed by Macedonian border controls and a European Union deal with Turkey on immigration.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 1.2 million Arab, African and Asian migrants have flooded into the European Union in the hope of finding a better life than the one they are fleeing.

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