There are worries that more than 100 people, including children, perished when their boat capsized off the coast of southern Italy.
At least 63 migrants have been confirmed dead, with 12 children, including a baby, among the dead.
On Sunday, the vessel, which was carrying approximately 200 people, broke apart while attempting to land in Crotone.
Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s Prime Minister, has urged EU institutions to take action to curb illegal migrant boat trips.
People from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran were claimed to be on board the boat, which had left Turkey a few days before.
The Pakistani foreign ministry reported that 16 of its citizens had escaped the accident, with four more still missing.
The coastguard said that 80 passengers were found alive, “including some who managed to reach the shore after the sinking,” implying that many more were still missing. Customs officers reported one survivor was arrested on migrant trafficking allegations.
A group of survivors of the horrific disaster battled to come to terms with the death of their loved ones as remains were removed from the beach and rescue and relocation activities continued. Some of them were crying without speaking at a temporary reception hall in the town of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, while others were covered in blankets and stared into the void.
“They are severely traumatised,” said Sergio Di Dato of the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières. “Some kids have lost their entire family.” We are providing them with all of our assistance.”
A 16-year-old Afghan kid lost his 28-year-old sister, who perished on the beach beside him. He couldn’t have the courage to tell his parents.
A 43-year-old Afghan man and his 14-year-old son survived, but his wife and three other children, ages 13, nine, and five, did not. Another Afghan widow in tears refused to leave the beach following the death of her husband.
“This is yet another tragedy that has occurred near our shores.” “It reminds us all that the Mediterranean is a giant mass grave with tens of thousands of souls in it, and it’s only getting bigger,” said Francesco Creazzo of SOS Méditerranée, a non-governmental organisation involved in rescue efforts in the central Mediterranean.
“There is no end in sight; in 2013, people said ‘never again’ to the little white coffins of Lampedusa, and in 2015, they said ‘never again’ in front of a two-year-old Syrian child’s lifeless body on a beach.”
“The words ‘never again’ are no longer even pronounced. We only hear ‘no more departures,’ but people continue to embark on this voyage and die,” he remarked.
Speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Secretary General António Guterres urged governments to do more to assist refugees and migrants, calling for safer travel routes and strengthened rescue operations.