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Calamity off Calabria: Migrant tragedy strikes Italy shores

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Over 40 migrants, including a baby, have lost their lives while dozens more have been rescued after their boat capsized in rough waters off southern Italy. The incident occurred near the coastal town of Crotone in the Calabria region, where many bodies have been retrieved from the shore. The vessel, which was carrying over 100 people, reportedly broke apart while attempting to land. While it is unclear where the boat originated from, local news agencies suggest that the passengers were from several countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

The shipwreck occurred after the vessel hit rocks during stormy weather, according to the Adnkronos news agency. Italian authorities immediately launched a search and rescue operation on land and at sea, recovering 80 survivors, some of whom managed to swim to shore after the incident. Meanwhile, 43 bodies have been discovered along the coastline, prompting an outpouring of grief and condolences from people around the world.

Antonio Ceraso, the mayor of Cruto, expressed his shock at the tragedy, stating, “There had been landings but never a tragedy like this.” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was elected on a platform to curb the flow of migrants into Italy, has conveyed her condolences and blamed the human traffickers who arrange such journeys. She declared, “It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the price of the ‘ticket’ they paid in the false perspective of a safe journey.” Ms. Meloni pledged that the government would continue its efforts to prevent departures, thereby reducing the incidence of such tragedies.

Ms. Meloni’s right-wing government has also been pushing for a stricter policy towards migrants and has recently implemented a new law to tighten rescue rules. The move has been met with criticism from activists and human rights groups, who argue that it could lead to more deaths as rescuers may hesitate to intervene in risky situations.

The incident highlights the continued risks that migrants face when attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Over the past several years, tens of thousands of people have lost their lives or gone missing in similar accidents while trying to escape poverty, conflict and persecution. The global community has a responsibility to address the underlying factors that drive people to undertake such perilous journeys and work towards creating safer, more sustainable migration pathways.

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